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Water polo comes to a close: Missing players, fatigue causes disappointing season finale

November 14, 2014

In a disappointing end to their second season, Monmouth Water Polo lost to opponents in the final tournament of the year.

Even though it wasn’t the outcome they had hoped for, the Fighting Scots felt strong about the season overall and are looking ahead to work harder for next year.

The Scots faced Division I Bucknell University and said the loss was a great learning experience. The Bison took down Monmouth 16-1.

The team also faced Washington and Jefferson College in a 15-7 loss and Penn St.-Behrend, but couldn’t edge out a win without top scorers present. The Scots lost 7-3 in the final game.

“Some of our key players were not able to make it to the tournament. Had those two guys been with us, I am sure that the outcome would have been in our favor,” senior Matt Smith said. Senior Gabe Baginski and junior John Fitzgerald were absent this past weekend, shortening the team’s bench.

Junior Neal Hosper also attributed the losses to unfamiliarity with the pool. While the team is used to playing in a pool similar to its own with a shallower, deep pool, this one was eight lanes wide with nine feet being the shallow end.

This combined with exhaustion after playing three games, lead to a performance the team wasn’t happy with.

Despite this setback, Smith and Hosper remain positive about the 2014 season as a whole.

“We had a good year. We made some big changes to our offensive strategies. We played more as a team. Everyone was a threat with the ball,” said Smith.

The Scots raised the bar in scoring this year with five players finishing the season with over 10 goals compared to last year’s three.

“We improve every year as a varsity team. As a second year team in the league we have a lot to learn and grow from in every game we play,” Hosper said.

Though the season has come to a close, the Scots will continue to work hard in the off-season.

“This is our second year as an officially recognized sport on campus and our plans are working hard in the off season, training harder in season, recruiting more freshmen and spreading the name of Monmouth College,” said freshman Riley Hess.

Sophomore Matt Engebretsen felt the weekend as a whole was not how he or the team wanted to end, but said the seasons ahead look promising.

“It provided a window for many new guys to step up and contribute and that’s exactly what happened. We’re a very young team with a lot of freshmen and sophomores contributing which is an exciting prospect for the future,” Engebretsen said.

Erica Anderson
Courier Sports Editor

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