There are many attributes that separate a good team from a great team.
A good team beats the teams they are supposed to and loses to the ones they aren’t. The great teams beat everyone, no matter who is favored.
The Mercyhurst men’s water polo team is currently in the good team category.
“We are right where we are expected to be, winning the games we are supposed to,” Coach Curtis Robinette said.
The part that is surprising about this Lakers team, currently 13-8, is that they are creeping closer and closer to the line that separates them from being great.
“We played three and a half really good quarters against a tough Brown team and were only one minute away from beating Harvard,” Robinette said.
Finishing games is something that will come with experience, something they lacked heading into this season. The team consists primarily of underclassmen, but they continue to perform well and are stepping into bigger roles as the season winds down.
“The younger guys are stepping into that leadership role and are becoming more vocal, especially after the tough weekend,” Robinette said.
Tough is a generous way of putting the weekend. The Lakers lost to Harvard 10-9 but were winning 9-8 with only a minute left. However, the team was playing its second of three games in a two-day stretch.
The Lakers then fell to Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 13-5.
“Three games in two days can be tough, but after the Harvard loss we were spent both mentally and physically,” Robinette said.
But there could be a silver lining to the defeat, one that could help the team going forward.
“Hopefully, the sting of the Harvard loss will carry over,” Robinette said.
The Lakers only need it to carry over a few games.
The team just wrapped up the Division II Eastern Championships with a 12-2 victory over Salem and a 13-12 win over Notre Dame College later in the day.
“Going in as the number one, we expect to come out with the championship,” Robinette said.
The team had to worry about looking past Notre Dame College of Cleveland to their game against Johns’ Hopkins, which affects seeding for the Southern Championships.
After dropping 10-2 to Johns’ Hopkins, the Lakers need to focus on the Southern Championship Nov. 4-6. With a top-four finish, the Lakers would then qualify for the Eastern Championships on Nov. 18-20.
“We have never qualified for the Eastern Championships, but we know we can compete with these teams,” Robinette said. “The guys are pretty self-motivated.”
The team will travel to Princeton for the Southern Championship.