WATER POLO GU Stays Unbeaten By Meredith McCloskey Hoya Staff Writer

The Georgetown men’s club water polo team concluded another perfect 4-0 weekend at the second league tournament, handily defeating Virginia Tech, James Madison and Maryland Saturday and stealing another win by forfeit from Duke Sunday. Although the Hoyas remain undefeated through their second weekend of competition, which moved them decisively into first place in the Atlantic Division, they dropped one notch to No. 15 in last week’s Collegiate Club Top 20 poll.

“We were definitely the team to beat this weekend,” senior Lee Conant said.

Georgetown warmed up quickly, clobbering Virginia Tech, 23-5. After jumping out to a 14-1 lead at the half, Georgetown continued to dominate, capitalizing on seven of nine power plays. Junior Evan Behr led the offense, netting seven goals, while junior co-captain arshall Spooner tallied five in the Hoyas’ victory.

The second match-up of the weekend also served as a face-to-face tiebreaker for Georgetown, who shared first place in the Atlantic Division with James Madison coming into the tournament. The Dukes scored the first goal of the game, making the 1-0 score the biggest lead the Hoyas have allowed any team so far this season. Georgetown quickly regained control, taking a 6-1 lead. Although they slightly lost momentum in the third quarter, the Hoyas finished off strong, with a 14-8 victory and sole claim of first place in their division.

Conant’s seven goals silenced the Dukes’ defense.

“Whenever we’re in a bind, Lee finds a way to finish things off,” Head Coach Sam Bakhshandehpour said.

The Hoyas’ solid defense continued to dominate Atlantic Division competition with the help of senior co-captain Eiki Hatakayama and sophomore Matt Sullivan at 2-meter guard.

“Matt Sullivan stepped in and played spectacularly, shutting down the Maryland hole set without drawing a single kickout,” Bakhshandehpour said.

No team has been able to come within five goals of Georgetown in all league games to date this season. On the offensive side, senior Peter Freeman guided the Hoyas’ counterattack, with Georgetown overpowering all defensive opposition. The Hoyas have also outscored their opponents 31-6 in the first quarter over eight games.

In the third game, Georgetown challenged rival Maryland to round out Saturday’s competition. Conant notched six goals to help the Hoyas defeat the Terrapins, 13-5. Senior Mike Mariani also aided the Georgetown attack, scoring all four of his goals on power plays.

The weekend concluded similarly to the first league tournament held earlier this month, with Duke forfeiting due to injuries. With this second forfeit, Duke is removed from the league for the remainder of this season and the next in accordance with league regulations.

“The cohesion of the team positioned them well to take a serious run at the championship,” Bakhshandehpour said.

After this weekend, the team named Jon Erickson, who recently moved to the D.C. area, its assistant coach. Erickson graduated from Washington State and will take over coaching responsibilities at the end of the season when Bakhshandehpour will become the head coach for the UCLA men’s water polo team.

“We were really lucky to get [Erickson]. Without him we’d have no future,” Conant said. “We’re ecstatic about it. He knows the game really well.”

Erickson expressed his enthusiasm in taking over the team after its most successful season in the Atlantic Division.

“One major thing I noticed about them is their teamwork. They are all on the same page. That’s the key to winning,” he said.

Top-seed Georgetown will face Virginia, a team it defeated 13-6 earlier this season on Sat., Nov. 3 in the first round of the Atlantic Division championship. The Hoyas will also face the Terrapins, who will be hungry for revenge. The winner of that game will advance to the championship round Sunday, Nov. 4 at 12:30 p.m. at Maryland.

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