With the first USA Water Polo Division III National Championship set for December, Pomona-Pitzer begins the year as the top team in the Collegiate Water Polo Association Preseason Top 10.
Pomona-Pitzer, which made the NCAA Championships men’s field in 2016, 2017 and 2018, posted a 22-7 record and 14-0 mark in the Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference last year. The Sagehens return first team Division III All-American goalkeeper James Kelbert and attacker Sam Sasaki and second teamers Dylan Elliott and Joseph Schafer, but must replace Association of Collegiate Water Polo Coaches’ Division III Player of the Year Adam Ward. Elliott scored 45 goals in 2018, while Sasaki and Schafer found the back of the net 44 and 42 times respectively. Kelbert made 204 saves and boasted a 50.6 save percentage and an 8.85 goals against average.
Whittier College checks in at No. 2 after going 15-14 in 2018, including a second place effort in SCIAC play. The Poets return the SCIAC Newcomer of the Year in Eric Borunda and All-Americans in Borunda (second team), Hans Zdolsek (first team) and goalie Murat Ersoz (honorable mention). Borunda put in 49 goals in 2018, while Zdolsek chipped in 48 scores and Ersoz registered 173 saves.
Claremont-Mudd-Scripps was picked third in the poll after going 16-11 in 2018, including a runnerup finish at the SCIAC Tournament. The Stags bring back first team All-American Zach Rossman, second teamer Will Clark and honorable mention selection Ethan Lewis. Rossman scored a team-high 44 goals, while Clark netted 38 and Lewis put in 34.
Cal Lutheran and MIT round out the Top 5. MIT is one of two non-SCIAC in the Top 10 alongside Johns Hopkins (#8).
CLU was 16-12 in 2018, including an 8-6 mark in conference play. First team All-American Ben Brown and Honorable Mention selections George Lundgren and Dillon Goldsmith headline the Kingsmen’s returning roster. Lundgren scored a team-best 50 goals, while Brown and Goldsmith each found the back of the net 49 times.
MIT went 10-13 in 2018 and registered the program’s first ever Northeast Water Polo Conference Tournament victory. First team All-American Miller Geschke and Honorable Mention selection Evan Kim headline the 2019 roster. Geschke led the Engineers in goals (58), assists (28) and points (86), while Kim chipped in 31 goals, 26 assists and 57 points.
Currently 16 teams are eligible for the Division III National Championship: Austin College, Caltech, Cal Lutheran, Chapman, Claremont-Mudd-Scripps (CMS), Connecticut College, Johns Hopkins, La Verne, MIT, Monmouth College, Occidental, Penn. State Behrend, Pomona-Pitzer, Redlands, Washington & Jefferson and Whittier.
The top two teams from the SCIAC and the CWPA Division III ranks are set to square off in the Division III Championship.
|2019 Men’s Varsity Division III Top 10 (Preseason)|
|Rank||Team||Final 2018 Poll||Points|
|3||Claremont-Mudd-Scripps Colleges||2 (T)||87|
|4||California Lutheran University||4||82|
|5||Massachusetts Institute of Technology||2 (T)||81|
|7||University of Redlands||7||72|
|8||Johns Hopkins University||8||69|
|10||University of La Verne||10||38|
|RV||Pen State Behrend||NR||11|