Sports

Water polo makes splash

The Carnegie Mellon Club Water Polo team started its season last weekend by dropping three games at the Washington and Jefferson Invitational Tournament in Washington, Pa.
Faced with stiff competition, including two NCAA varsity squads, the Tartans played well, but came up short in the end, losing to Penn State Behrend (6?15), Washington and Jefferson (6?12), and Yale (7?14). Despite the outcome, team members were happy with how the club performed against the more experienced teams.
?This is our second year in the Collegiate Water Polo Association (CWPA), so we?re a relatively young team. We finished second in our region last year, and we?re still improving. This tournament gave us the opportunity to put in a lot of the less experienced players, which will give us greater depth in the long run,? said team captain Daniel Sunday.
Many returning players also played key roles in the tournament, including Jon Hurst, who split time in the net and in the field. The team also got strong performances offensively and defensively from Jamie McDonald, Dave Rozner, Mike Miles, Jackie Feinstein, and Kori Shih. Carnegie Mellon?s water polo team is one of the few sports at the school that is co-ed, combining men and women to create the strongest squad.
?We have a good balance of experienced and inexperienced players right now. We?re at the point where most of the guys and girls who have just started playing one or two years ago are really contributing to the team.? In particular, Sunday noted the play of goalkeeper Dan Bernier, who had never played water polo until two years ago. ?He?s been looking a lot better in practice, and he played very well last weekend. We are a very good defensive team.?
The team begins conference play next weekend with a home tournament and is looking forward to the upcoming competition in the University Center. They have increased their roster size each year in the CWPA, and now expect big contributions from their second- and third-year players who now have a full understanding of the game.
These players are complemented by first-years who have played through high school and will be counted on to provide valuable experience in the future.

?Our main concern right now is getting everyone working together so that our offense can start clicking. Once that happens, I feel that we can be a very dangerous team. We?re looking to improve on our sixth place finish at the Divisional Championships,? said Sunday. ?Being a club sport has its benefits and drawbacks for us. On the plus side, practice schedules are more relaxed so we can focus on other important things outside of the pool. On the flip side, we only have three practices per week in the pool, so it?s a little harder to get everyone on the same page in that respect.?
The team?s upcoming tournament will include divisional foes Lycoming College, Bloomsfield University, and Penn State University. Also in their division this year are the club teams from Villanova, Lehigh, and the University on Pennsylvania. Though the season is nearly in full swing, the club encourages interested students to come out and be a part of the team.
Senior James McDonald, who has played on the team for four years said: ?Club Water Polo is a lot of fun. It?s student?run, so it?s pretty relaxed. We have a tournament next weekend if you want to come over to the University Center pool and see what it?s all about.?
The Club water polo practices are Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday nights starting at 9 pm.