ERIE, Pa. – The Connecticut College men's water polo team finished fifth at the MAWPC-West Region Championships by winning both of its matches on Sunday morning and afternoon. The Camels first rolled past Monmouth, 16-4, before earning a thrilling 14-13 overtime victory over Washington & Jefferson in the fifth-place match to conclude tournament play.
Connecticut College 16, Monmouth 4
The Camels started the day on a high note by leading from wire-to-wire against the Fighting Scots. Junior Arturo Freitas (Weston, Fla.) kickstarted a 4-0 run for the squad by scoring the game's first two goals in a span of 33 seconds.
After the Fighting Scots got on the board to create a 4-1 score by the end of the first quarter, Connecticut College embarked on another 4-0 run during the second quarter to pull away. Freshman Mike Gertsik (Brooklyn, N.Y.) extended the lead to twin figures at 12-2 with 4:11 remaining in the third, and classmate Lucas Verrilli (Evanston, Ill.) found the back of the net with 52 seconds remaining in regulation to produce the final outcome.
Verrilli led the Camels by scoring four goals, while Gertsik notched a hat trick to also spark the offense. Freshman Danny Meisel (Santa Cruz, Calif.) made 11 saves between the posts and was relieved in the third by sophomore Tanner Michaelis (Ramona, Calif.), who turned away an additional five shots attempted by the Fighting Scots.
Connecticut College 14, Washington & Jefferson 13 (OT)
The Camels and Presidents found themselves in a 12-12 deadlock through the end of regulation in a nip-and-tuck battle which featured eight ties and three lead changes. But after exchanging goals in the first overtime frame, Gertisk was able to unleash a shot that zinged the strings with 1:36 on the clock to ultimately decide the match.
Washington & Jefferson built up an early 2-0 advantage by scoring twice in less than 90 seconds. However, Connecticut College responded with a 4-1 run and took a lead which they desperately held on to until the late stages of the third when junior Sean King (La Canada, Calif.) netted a goal to give his team a one-goal advantage at the time.
The Presidents built up a 10-8 lead in the early stages of the third, but the Camels eventually rallied from behind again to send the match into overtime. Gertsik, who is one of five freshmen on the current 11-player, then provided the heroics to give the Camels the victory in their final match of the season.
King propelled the Camel offense overall by scoring five times. Gertsik finished with four goals in a clutch effort, which included finding the back of the net three times in the fourth quarter and the deciding tally in overtime. Michaelis took over goaltending duties and stopped nine shots.
Connecticut College (6-19) graduates one senior and will carry positive momentum into next season with at least 10 letterwinners slated to return.