The men’s water polo team ended last season on the cusp of a truly breakthrough performance. The Bison fell just short of competing in their first NCAA Championship tournament at the end of last season after a crushing 10-9 loss to St. Francis (N.Y.) in the Eastern Championship title game. A win in that game would have sealed their first trip to the NCAA’s in
Despite the loss, the Bison have a lot to be proud of. Their second place finish at Easterns marked their best performance since 1993. They also performed well out of the pool, placing six athletes on the Collegiate Water Polo Association Scholar-Athlete team.
The Orange and Blue’s strong postseason run earned them the 14th spot on the NCAA national rankings, which is also where they will begin the 2013 season. They are ranked behind traditional West Coast powers such as the University of Southern California (USC) and University of California Los Angeles (UCLA), but as far as East Coast teams, the Bison are ranked behind only one rival: St. Francis Brooklyn.
There should be little to no drop off in performance in the 2013 season for the Bison as they return with five starters. One of the most important figures will be Stefan Aleksic ’16, who led the Bison last year on the offensive front with 101 points as a first-year. He will be reinforced by a strong senior class of Julian Colina ’14, Jack Else ’14, Mike Kimble ’14, Stephen Norton ’14, Alex Nowlin ’14, and Andrew Somers ’14. Those six players bring a great deal of experience and fire power, combining for 388 career goals between them.
Perhaps the biggest question going into the new season for the Orange and Blue will be the ability of Keegan Williams ’15 to step into the starting goalkeeper role. He has spent his first two years on the team behind previous starter Matt Napleton ’13, who recently graduated and signed to play with Rari Nantes Savona, a team that plays in the highest division of the Italian League. Williams should be able to take what he has learned from Napleton and have a strong first season in goal.
The Orange and Blue will begin their 2013 season on Sept. 7 at the Navy Invite in Annapolis, Md. where they will play four games in two days.