By LIAM TRESNAN
For The News-Letter
On Nov. 8, the Hopkins water polo team travelled to Lewisburg, Pa. where they suffered a loss in the final of the Collegiate Water Polo Association (CWPA) Southern Championship to Princeton University, a team ranked 11th in the nation.
The Jays, now 19-9, will travel to Cambridge, Mass. on Nov. 20 to compete in the CWPA Championship.
The Jays fought their way to the final after beating both Mercyhurst University and also Salem International University. In the semifinals they beat the No. 2 seed Bucknell University.
“We won a really tough game against Bucknell; 8-4,” freshman Andreas Katsis said. “They were the second seed and ranked 15th nationally. We ran a drop against their two good centers and then countered off of it. John Wilson had an amazing game in goal, making around 13 saves.”
The Blue Jays were the third seed in the tournament and faced the No. 1 seed Princeton in the final. This was only the second time in the program’s history that the Hopkins water polo team reached the Southern Championship final.
The now 19-9 Blue Jays lost 16-12, allowing Princeton Tigers to claim its ninth Southern Championship.
The Tigers started out with a 2-0 lead half way through the first quarter until Hopkins responded with three goals in just 70 seconds to give them a 3-2 lead with 26 seconds left in the quarter.
Freshman Josh Kurtz led the run with 1:40 left to go in the quarter, followed by senior captain Langdon Froomer and junior Matt Fraser scoring two impressive goals back-to-back, the last of which leveled the game with just eight seconds left on the clock for that quarter.
In the second quarter, Froomer scored twice on either side of Princeton’s goal. This made the score 5-4 before Princeton manage to go on a five-goal streak, leaving the game at 9-5 with two minutes in the half. Fraser scored once before the end of the half to get the Blue Jays within three points.
Both teams scored to start off the third quarter and then Hopkins pulled it back to 11-10. Fraser scored one and senior Blake Range had two goals. Princeton ended the quarter with two more goals.
Froomer continued his excellent outing by starting the fourth quarter with a goal, but Princeton kept coming, scoring twice.
The score now at 15-11 with five minutes to go, Fraser scored to make it a three goal game, but Princeton scored again to give us the final score of 16-12.
Froomer finished the game with seven points (five goals, two assists). Fraser scored four goals, and he and fellow junior Bret Pinsker drew three ejections each. Senior Erik Henrikson had six saves, and sophomore John Wilson had three with an assist.
The Jays are optimistic about competing in the CWPA Championship.
“We were up on Princeton for parts of the game, which just gives us so much confidence going into Eastern Championships in two weeks,” freshman Andreas Katsis said.
The Jays will take on some of their toughest competition yet in the Eastern Championships, but their victories this year at the expense of some of the top programs in the country provide reason to believe that they will compete strongly.