Courtesy: Navy Sports
PRINCETON, N.J. – The No. 13 Navy water polo team (5-3, 0-1 MAWPC) was edged 13-12 in overtime by Wagner (5-3, 1-0 MAWPC) in the final game of the Princeton Invitational at DeNunzio Pool in Princeton, N.J. The contest served as the first Mid-Atlantic Water Polo Conference game for both teams.
“Today was disappointing,” head coach Luis Nicolao said after the game. “Our guys fought hard, but came up just short. We had an opportunity to open conference play with a win so to come that close and not get the win, it’s disappointing. We have to put this one behind us and move forward. After two weeks on the road, we finally get a home game this Thursday, and it is against Air Force. I am looking forward to an amazing atmosphere with a ton of Midshipmen packing Lejeune as we take on our rival.”
The Midshipmen struggled offensively in the game, converting just 12 goals on 45 attempts. Six Mids found the back of the net with five notching multiple goal games. For the second straight game, Sam Collingwood led Navy, finishing with three goals for his second consecutive hat trick. Kiefer Black, Aiden Day, Nathan Duchez, and Luka Sekulic scored two goals apiece, while Tommy McKnew rounded out the scoring with a score. Black led the team with three assists, while Duchez, Sekulic, and Ivan Pang each added helpers.
Senior team captain Caden Capobianco kept the Midshipmen in the game, finishing with the game with 13 saves. Additionally, the goalkeeper joined Black, Collingwood, and Hayden Kahn with two steals apiece.
Wagner opened the scoring, but Black answered to knot the game at 1-1. The Seahawks regained the lead with two scores, but the Mids responded with two goals by Duchez to end the first quarter tied 3-3.
Day gave the Midshipmen a 4-3 lead with his first goal of the game, but Wagner used back-to-back scores to retake the advantage. Day and Collingwood netted goals to give Navy a 6-5, but once again two goals by the designated visitors put Wagner in front by one. Black and Sekulic gave Navy an 8-7 advantage at intermission.
In the third quarter, Sekulic extended the Mids’ lead to 9-7, but the Seahawks closed out the quarter with a pair of goals to send the game into the fourth knotted at 9-9.
The two teams traded goals to start the fourth quarter with Collingwood netting his second score of the day to tie the game at 10-10. Wagner regained a one-goal lead, but McKnew knotted the game at 11 to force overtime.
In the extra period, the Seahawks scored first. After the two teams switched ends of the pool, Collingwood completed his hat trick, tying the game at 12-12. Wagner scored the go-ahead goal with 76 ticks on the clock and Navy was unable to net the equalizer, dropping the one-goal decision, 13-12.
Navy returns to action on Thursday, Sept. 14, as the Midshipmen host rival Air Force at 6:30 p.m. at Lejeune Hall. The game will be broadcast on YouTube and admission to the game is FREE.