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Men’s water polo opens CWPA play with 1-2 record

With 52 seconds left in the fourth quarter against Bucknell, and the Colonials down two, sophomore Paul Deasey rocketed down the pool in hopes of scoring a last minute goal.

Junior goalkeeper Cameron Illes threw the ball to Deasey in hopes of scoring during the transition to the opposite end of the pool. But as Deasey reached Bucknell’s end, he plunged under the water, in what appeared to be a foul by the Bison defender.

GW’s bench erupted, yelling angrily at the play. But as they protested, Deasey was whistled for a foul of his own, transferring possession to Bucknell. Head coach Scott Reed passionately arguing with the referee about the controversial call, and was handed a red card, ejected from the game. After the match was over, and the Colonials (6-8) fell 10-8 to the Bison, Reed shied away from any talk of his ejection.

“The officials did their job,” he said.

Reed wasn’t the only Colonial to be ejected from Sunday’s match. Sophomore Daniel Tyner, who led the Colonials with a career-high nine goals in GW’s 14-13 victory over Johns Hopkins Saturday, was ejected with 20 seconds left in the first quarter. It left GW without its two leading scorers, with sophomore Nate Little sidelined for the weekend due to a concussion – though he’s scheduled to return for GW’s next match.

The Colonials won just one of the their three matches against CWPA rivals this weekend, falling 15-8 to Princeton Saturday, next defeating John Hopkins and then losing the tightly-contested match against Bucknell. The team was distracted, Reed said, by the blow dealt to it with Tyner’s removal.

“The guys got frustrated early on in the game,” Reed said. “When one of your top players is removed, it gets hard.”

At the opening match against Princeton, Illes started the game with high intensity, posting two early back-to-back saves.

The Colonials defense struggled after halftime, allowing Princeton six goals in six minutes, a scoring run that they used to pull away from a 5-5 tie. Deasey and freshman Ridvan Pehlivan each netted hat tricks, but their offensive front wasn’t enough to propel GW to victory, falling 14-8.

“We didn’t start off doing the game plan we talked about on Friday,” Reed said. “We had broken defense and Princeton took advantage of it during the second half.”

GW returned from the tough loss later that night to beat Johns Hopkins by a single point in a close match. Tyner led the way with a career high in goals, including three during the 6-1 Colonials run that closed the first half.

Tyner again added three goals in the opening two minutes and six seconds of the fourth quarter to put the Colonials at a 13-10 advantage. The Blue Jays pulled within one, with just 63 seconds left to play, but their last-minute shot aimed just wide of the net, and the Colonials hung on to win their first match against their league rival since 2004, a match that Reed said his team “played pretty much perfectly.”

“I was feeling good that game,” Tyner said. “Every game I have the same mentality. I want to win.”

The Colonials entered their last game of the weekend against Bucknell Sunday. The Bisons’ use of the shot clock, patience with passing and successful transitions down the pool helped them create many successful shot opportunities.

GW had yet to take a lead with 20 seconds left in the first quarter, and the tight, highly contested play raised the pressure and emotion in the pool. It spilled over with Tyner’s ejection after he was whistled for three fouls.

“Everyone got too frustrated,” Tyner said. “It was a learning experience for me.”

The Bison had a 6-4 lead at halftime, and the third quarter started off with the GW defense losing its rhythm, allowing a 4-2 scoring run that gave Bucknell a four-point lead.

A minute was left in the fourth quarter when the intensity in the room was at its highest point of the entire weekend, setting the scene for Deasey’s foul that led to Reed’s ejection. GW was unable to close the two-goal gap, and Bucknell withstood the Colonials’ rally to pull out a 10-8 victory.

Despite only posting one win over three matches, Reed was heartened by his team’s play. The fight they showed over their two narrow losses was telling, he said, and spoke to the heart of his players.

“Overall, they showed a lot of guts this weekend,” Reed said. “They never gave up.”

GW next travels to the Claremont Convergence, opening play against California Baptist Oct. 7 at 1 p.m.

This article was updated on Sept. 26, 2011 to reflect the following:
The Hatchet incorrectly spelled head coach Scott Reed’s name as “Reid.”

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