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The GW Hatchet

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Water polo falls at home to Navy

Sophomore Adam Streeter drives the ball down the pool Wednesday night against Navy during GW's 16-7 loss. Bryan Hoechner | Hatchet Photographer

Junior goalkeeper Cameron Illes’ frustration was evident as the final buzzer sounded on GW’s game. He threw the ball across the pool, bouncing it off the opposite wall.

Illes had just matched his season-high in saves, stopping 17 Navy shots, but his efforts weren’t enough to boost a staggering Colonials (7-12) offense that faltered in the second half, allowing 10 goals on the way to a 16-7 loss to the Midshipmen.

“It’s frustrating,” Illes said. “Today was not fun. It was not fun playing water polo today.”

The beginning of the match seemed to foreshadow a different outcome. The pool in the Smith Center was packed, forcing spectators to spill along the sides, fighting to find a spot to sit or stand where they could see the action. And as the first quarter kicked off, Illes opened play with a commanding save, challenged again quickly by a Navy shot that ricocheted off the crossbar. Despite the Midshipmen’s early offensive front, the Colonials kept pace, trading goals to exit the quarter down by a single goal.

Navy scored again quickly as play opened in the second, and GW found itself trailing by two. The Colonials were handed two opportunities to tie play: first, sophomore Daniel Tyner drew a five-meter penalty, but his shot slammed directly into the chest of the Navy goaltender. Then, after a Midshipmen foul, GW had a late man-up advantage, but were unable to capitalize on the extra boost and score. The breakdowns were equally frustrating for head coach Scott Reed, who said he didn’t see his team exhibit any of the offensive and defensive focuses he had identified for the match-up.

“We played a lousy game. They did not do anything that we’re supposed to do on the defensive side of things. They’re really sloppy in what we’re doing, and I’m just extremely disappointed,” Reed said. “We missed the penalty shot, we didn’t get the shot off when we had the man advantage at the very end of that half, those little things can eat you right up, and apparently it did.”

GW entered the third quarter just two goals shy of tying the score, and didn’t come that close again over the rest of play. Navy scored quickly in the third, starting a scoring run that saw it net five goals before freshman Ridvan Pehlivan snapped the streak with a blast that whistled past the Navy goalkeeper into the upper right corner of the net.

The Colonials entered the fourth quarter looking to claw their way back from a seven-goal hole, but Navy again stepped up its offensive play, scoring quickly and denying GW any opportunity to respond in kind. Reed called a timeout with three minutes and two seconds left, hoping to settle his team down – but soon after the return to play, the Midshipmen earned a penalty shot in front of the Colonials net, zipping it past Illes. Navy scored another five goals over the fourth quarter to make the final tally 16-7.

“It’s completely mental. We just didn’t do what we were supposed to do,” Illes said. “We didn’t play the defense we were supposed to play, we didn’t do the offense we were supposed to play.”

Reed echoed his goalkeeper’s statements, pointing to his team’s frustrations at tight play as reasons for mental errors, resulting in what he called a “landslide effect.” GW needs to collect itself in those situations, Reed said, re-organize and evaluate their goals in the pool.

And Reed intends to re-organize his team as they head into the Oct. 15 match against Bucknell. CWPA play is just four games old for GW, and Reed believes in his team’s potential.

“We’re going to get right back to work again tomorrow night,” Reed said. “We’re going to take a look at some of this game footage, and the things that we didn’t do this game, we’re going to have to do against Bucknell on Saturday.”

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