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Men’s water polo enters second year of competition: Fighting Scots merge upperclassmen experience and underclassmen enthusiasm

September 12, 2014

Monmouth College Photo - The water polo team added six freshman to its roster as a part of effort to replace three scorers from last season.

The Monmouth College Men’s Water Polo Team hopes to blend the old with the new to set records during its second season as an official varsity sport. Hoping to land in the top three in Division III, the Fighting Scots must replace their top 3 scorers from last season.

Despite losing the trio of offensive power, the Scots are expecting to have one of the strongest freshmen classes yet. This year’s team will consist of six freshmen, one junior transfer and 11 returning players, mixing proven talent with fresh new faces for a season of possibility.

Coach Josh Dunn expects big things in the offense from freshmen Riley Hess, Julius Bradsfield and Sebastian Hernandez.

Senior captains Marshall Palfenier and John Fitzgerald will lead the team this season. Palfenier, goalkeeper for the Scots, expects improvements from the team as a whole.

As captain, he said, “I use my leadership roles to help motivate everyone on the team, keep morale high, and raise the bar for skill expectations.”
Fitzgerald also anticipates a better team this season because of the different dynamics.

“This year’s team is nothing like last year. We have a better attitude and we are more focused on playing as a team,” said Fitzgerald.

Teamwork is the key word for the Scots this year. Coach Dunn believes that the group of men that has been put together has proven to be selfless and true team players, which will enhance their play in the water.

Returning sophomore Matt Engebretsen agrees, seeing the new additions as an opportunity to capitalize on talent and team chemistry.

“I think the main difference this year will be no longer relying on any one individual to carry the team. We have a very talented overall squad and we’ll have to focus on playing team polo if we want to improve on our already impressive first season,” Engebretsen said.

Last year was the first time that Water Polo at Monmouth College was played at a varsity level and considered an official sport at the school. The team struggled as they transitioned from club level to varsity competition, finishing with a record of 5-9. This year, having a season of varsity under their belts, they anticipate being more prepared for the level of competition.

The Fighting Scots hope to win games this year that they lost last year and overcome the tough, close matches.

Coach Dunn is eager to see who will step up, starting with their first home tournament on Saturday against Lindenwood, Grinnell and Wisconsin-Madison in the Pepper Natatorium.

Katy Rees
Contributing Writer

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