MIT Stuns Defending National Champion UC Santa Cruz, 13-9

Sept. 8, 2007

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. - MIT's water polo squad opened its 2007 home campaign in fine fashion on Friday night, downing defending Division III National Champion University of California Santa Cruz, 13-9. The Engineers used a gritty defensive effort to limit the No. 4 ranked Banana Slugs to just one goal in the fourth quarter.

The game was the opener for both sides in the MIT Invitational, which will see nine teams from across the country compete in the Zesiger Center Pool from Friday to Sunday.

Freshman John Preis led the Cardinal and Gray offensive attack with three goals, pushing his team-best total to 12 on the season. Junior Mike Smith-Bronstein notched a pair of tallies to give himself 11 on the campaign and keep pace with Preis at the top of the scoring charts, while sophomore Mark Artz and freshman Brian Gardiner also bagged two goals each.

The contest was a back and forth affair throughout the first three quarters, with neither team looking like it would be able to separate itself. UC Santa Cruz (0-1) held a 4-3 advantage after the first stanza, but a tight second saw the Engineers (2-1) knot the score at 6-6 heading into the half. The third quarter saw much of the same, as the squads traded goals, with Tech securing a slim 9-8 lead entering the final eight-minute period.

A brave defensive effort from MIT stymied the Banana Slugs in the fourth quarter, limiting their looks at goal and allowing just one shot to get past sophomore goalkeeper Nick Souza. Meanwhile, four goals from the Engineers helped bury the game and produce the final 13-9 score line.

Credit must be given to Smith-Bronstein and junior Palmer Rosemond, who each secured three steals to help out on the Cardinal and Gray's defensive end. Senior Morgan Laidlaw and sophomore Devin Lewis notched two steals apiece, while Lewis also contributed with two ejections drawn.

Laidlaw, Rosemond, Rob Kalwarowsky and Grant Tomassi rounded out the scoring for Tech with one goal each.

Souza was solid in net, making six saves and contributing two steals to secure the victory.

MIT continues play in its own invitational today, Sept. 8, as it takes on Connecticut College (10:30 a.m.), Washington and Jefferson (1:30 p.m.) and Yale University (6:30 p.m.).