October 26, 2004

MIT Falls Short at Division III Eastern Championship

Oct. 26, 2004

WASHINGTON, Pa. -  MIT water polo returned to the Division III Eastern Championship for the fourth consecutive year, although the Engineers were unable to duplicate last year's magic as they fell to Johns Hopkins, 14-6, in the tournament final. Dave Lohrey and John Rogers combined for 29 goals as MIT raced to a 3-1 record over the weekend.

As soon as the Engineers walked on the pool deck at Washington and Jefferson College for the Division III Eastern championship they knew they were in for an uphill battle. The championship tournament was being played in a shallow/deep pool, and MIT was the only team in the tournament that didn't practice in such a facility.

First up for MIT was Grove City College, which the Engineers used a balanced scoring attack to easily win 18-2. Seven different players scored two or more goals led by Dan Jacobs, who punched in three. Andrew Whitehead had six steals and five assists in the match, while freshman Robert Traux had six saves in goal.

In the quarterfinals, the Engineers played against host-Washington and Jefferson. MIT raced out to a 4-0 lead at the end of the first quarter playing offense in the deep end, but in the next frame the Presidents mounted a comeback. Despite MIT's struggles in the shallow water, the Engineers were able to pull away and win the game 15-10. Leading the way was John Rogers with five goals and Dave Lohrey with three goals. Grady Synder added great defensive presence and Andrew Whitehead added another five-assist effort.

In the semifinals, the Engineers faced a determined team from Penn State Bernard. In a game that was tied at seven at halftime, MIT jumped on the back of Dave Lohrey, who scored a career high eight goals for the Engineers. John Rogers added five goals to give MIT a 16-11 victory and a return to the Championship game for the fourth year in a row.

"We had a tough time adjusting to the officiating and the pool" said senior Alexi Zykov. "We scored most of our goals in the deep end which made up for our struggles in the shallow part to help get us into the finals".

In the finals, the Engineers grabbed an early 3-2 lead after the first quarter, but the Jayhawks pulled away and capitalized on MIT's offensive miscues in the shallow end to seal a 14-6 victory.

"While the loss was disappointing, we are not worried about it so much" said Assistant coach Felix Mercado. "We set out all season long to finish top four at Northerns and try to finish in the top four at Easterns, so we will bounce back from this. John Hopkins played well and we didn't adjust. The good thing is no more shallow deep pools!"