September 17, 2007

Engineers Drop Pair of Close Contests to Division I Opponents

Sept. 17, 2007

BROOKLYN HEIGHTS, N.Y. - MIT's water polo team nearly pulled off a pair of shocking upsets against nationally ranked Division I opponents on Sunday afternoon, but in the end fell valiantly to No. 15 Princeton University, 12-9, and No. 13 St. Francis College, 12-8. The Engineers - the nation's eighth-ranked Division III team - completed their weekend road trip with a record of 1-2, as they downed Queens College, 18-8, on Saturday.

MIT (5-3; 1-1 CWPA) was powered on the offensive end once again by standout freshman John Preis and sophomore Mike Smith-Bronstein, who each scored six goals combined in the pair of defeats.

The Cardinal and Gray traveled to Princeton, N.J., on Sunday morning for a non-conference match-up with the No. 15 ranked Tigers (6-1), and proved to be a staunch test for their hosts. After a hard-fought first quarter in which the teams traded goals, Princeton enjoyed a narrow 4-3 advantage, and the Tigers were unable to stretch their lead in the second stanza, as each team notched just a single goal. However, though the resilient Engineers were thoroughly in the match until the final whistle, Princeton added to its lead by one goal in each of the final two quarters to achieve the final 12-9 score line.

Preis led Tech with four tallies, while Smith-Bronstein followed closely with three of his own. Sophomore Devin Lewis and freshman Brian Gardiner each grabbed one goal to round out the scoring.

Sophomore goalkeeper Nick Souza made three saves in defeat.

MIT had virtually no time to rest following the game, as the team had to quickly board a bus and make its way to Brooklyn Heights, N.Y., for an afternoon Collegiate Water Polo Association (CWPA) Northern Division fixture with No. 13 St. Francis College. For the second time in a matter of hours, the Cardinal and Gray put a scare into its Division I opponent, this time actually taking a 5-4 lead into the halftime break. However, two days of travel and the earlier contest against Princeton ultimately took its toll, as St. Francis (6-2; 4-0 CWPA) outscored Tech 4-0 in the third quarter en route to the 12-8 victory.

Smith-Bronstein was MIT's top scorer with his second three-goal performance of the day, while Preis and junior Palmer Rosemond each struck twice for the Engineers. Lewis added Tech's final tally.

Souza put forth a noble effort in net, making nine saves and contributing five steals to the MIT cause.

The Engineers will return to the water on Thursday, Sept. 20, when they will travel to inner-city rival Harvard University at 7:30 p.m.