Water Polo wins first varsity game
October 4, 2013
Monmouth College Photo - Water polo came from behind in the fourth quarter to log their first win as a varsity sport.
This last weekend, the men’s water polo team was etched into the Monmouth College athletic history books. Overcoming fatigue, physical play and a late deficit, the program won their first game as a varsity team. “They were eager for their first win and they never gave up,” said head coach Josh Dunn. “It is nice having that first win out of the way.”
The Scots entered the fourth quarter trailing 7-11 to Salem International University but were not deterred, going on a 5-1 run to end regulation. The momentum spilled into overtime. Overtime consisted of two three-minute quarters in which Monmouth outscored the opposition 3-1, making Salem, W. Va. the site of their first victory.
The game was marked by very physical play. Two of Salem’s players received red cards for brutality, including one for punching a Monmouth player in the face. “The guys did a great job holding their composure,” says Dunn. “We were able to…play smart, which helped us earn the win. It was tough keeping them energized. I know that they were tired and were beat up but they wanted that win more than Salem did and it showed in the end.”
A win in their first weekend of competition is encouraging for a team that is still transitioning from being a club team to the varsity level. “The level of competition is much higher on the varsity level as every team is loaded with talent and very deep,” says Tony Marino, senior center and former player-coach of the club team known as “The Crab People.”
Monmouth College Photo
Outside of the pool, the team is dealing with the challenges of sometimes traveling great distances because of the scarcity of competition in this region. Earlier in the day they faced Washington and Jefferson College in Washington, Pa. on four to five hours of sleep after arriving at the hotel at 2 A.M. according to Dunn. Their tiredness seemed to take a toll in that game, as the Scots had an anemic first quarter falling behind 7-1. Monmouth woke up and finished the game strong but the weak start proved to be fatal as they fell 18-10. When asked about the wear long traveling puts on the team Marino said, “It takes more of a physical toll since it’s hard for us to get a good night’s rest before the game and it is pretty exhausting sitting in a bus for that long of a time.”
As for the rest of the season, Dunn says his expectations are high but not unreasonable. “I hope to accomplish a few more wins and place top four at Division III easterns, Oct. 19-20 out at Johns Hopkins in Maryland. We now have experienced the pressure of varsity programs and going forward we will be more focused at practices to ensure we have success at those games.”
One thing is for sure; water polo at Monmouth College has transitioned from era to the next.