PRINCETON, N.J. - In its opening game of the 2012 Collegiate Water Polo Association (CWPA) Eastern Championship, No. 6 MIT water polo lost to Mercyhurst University, 6-5, which is the lowest scoring affair so far in this year's tournament. Junior Craig Cheney (Sherwood, Ore.) was the only Engineer to net more than one goal.
Mercyhurst jumped on the scoreboard early in the first quarter, but the lead lasted less than a minute when Cheney scored his first goal of the game with five minutes left on the clock, evening the score. By the end of the period, the Engineers were behind, 2-1 but the game was tied up again just 28 seconds into the second quarter when freshman Matthew Orton (Los Altos Hills, Calif.) was able to sneak a ball past goalie Matt Cote. With four minutes remaining in the period, fellow freshman Ory Tasman (Orlando, Fla.) fired the ball into the net, leaving the score at 4-3 going into the next period.
At the end of the third quarter, freshman Kale Rogers (Newberg, Ore.), who was just named CWPA's Rookie of the Year, netted the equalizer. With two Mercyhurst goals a minute apart, however, MIT was trailing by two. With four minutes left in the final quarter, Cheney scored his second goal, slowly closing the gap. This was not enough though, as the Lakers were able to keep the Engineers from scoring another goal, ending the game with a score of 6-5.
Throughout the game, Cote made 16 saves, while sophomore keeper Spencer Boone (Thousand Oaks, Calif.) finished with 14 saves.
MIT will face the Midshipmen of the Naval Academy at 3:00 p.m. on Saturday in the consolation bracket, marking the first time that the two teams have met. Mercyhurst will play St. Francis College at 6:00 p.m.