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The MC Crab People win conference title … again

October 29, 2010

The Men’s Monmouth College Club Water polo team, also known as the Crab People, defeated Grinnell College beating them by a score of 12-7.

This defeat marks the Crab Peoples third straight conference title win, the first time in Heartland Division history that this mark has been achieved. Monmouth came into the conference tournament as the 1st ranked seed beating the eighth seed St. Mary’s University, by a score of 18-2, and beating the fourth seed St. John’s University in the semi-final game by a score of 15-3. Leading the way for the Crab People was senior captain Tom Pedersen, who had 10 goals, four blocked shots and six rejections drawn, earning himself Heartland Division Player of the Week.

In their first game against St. Mary’s, Monmouth came out firing taking an early 6-0 lead in the first quarter as junior Steve Collins had three of those 6 goals.

In the semi-final game against St. John’s University, Monmouth came out again with a commanding lead with a 5-0 score to end the 1st quarter. They beat St. John’s to advance to the championship game.

The Crab People met rival Grinnell College in the championship. Monmouth took an early lead as Pedersen scored three goals on the first three offensive possessions. Grinnell quickly answered back with three goals of their own to put the score at 3-3. This score would end up to be the closest margin of the game.

The Crab People added five goals over the rest of the first half, holding Grinnell to no goals to end the first half with a score of 8-3. Wright tallied two goals and Skalon, Testolin and Dunn added one goal each.

“I told the guys during a time out that we needed to relax, maintain composure and take control of this game now or that we were going to lose,” said coach Steve Collins. “I also told them that our season would be over and any national title hopes would be diminished if we didn’t calm down and play the game our way on both offense and defense. It was really exciting as a coach and even more exciting as a player to see the team come together as well as they did to hold off the other team.”

In the second half, the Crab People scored four more goals as Pedersen and  Tony Marino each had two goals to hold off Grinnell. Key players of the game were Pedersen with four goals with Wright and Marino tallying two goals each.

“Playing my last season after a nine year career, I told the team that if we lost this game this would be the end of my competitive water polo career in which I didn’t want it to end at such a meaningful game,” said Pedersen. “I told my teammates I had their backs and that I would do everything in my power to win this game for them and that when we come out of the water in the last quarter, that we would be celebrating as conference champs. I didn’t want to sound conceited to them, but I wanted to make sure every person on this team knew that they had someone behind them because that’s what a team is and if all of us aren’t confident in ourselves and each other, then I’m not doing my job as a leader.”

Monmouth now heads into Division III Collegiate Club National tournament play for the fourth year in a row, earning the second seed in the nation. The Crab People will travel to Macalester College in St. Paul, Minn., on Nov. 6 and 7. Monmouth placed second last year.

Collins added, “In our first meeting of the season I presented the team with three goals: to have fun, to win conference and to go undefeated throughout the season. I told them going undefeated would not be easy and it meant that we would have to win the national championship. And as of right now, we have accomplished two of those goals. I think we are all ready to go to nationals and take care of that third goal and give Monmouth College something that it has never had.”

BY KEN COLLINS
Contributing Writer

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