Engineers Defeat Mercyhurst before Falling to Navy on Day one of CWPA Champs

Freshman Zach Churukian
Freshman Zach Churukian

PROVIDENCE, R.I. – MIT's water polo team was victorious in its first game of the Collegiate Water Polo Association (CWPA) Championships, coming from behind to defeat Mercyhurst University by a score of 10-9. Later that same day, the Engineers fell to Navy, 19-11. Hosted by Brown University, the CWPA Championships are taking place from Friday, Nov. 22 through Sunday, Nov. 24. This is Tech's final weekend of competition before the 2013 season officially comes to a close.

Freshman Zach Churukian (Menlo Park, Calif.) played well against the Lakers, leading MIT with his four goals and five steals, being named Player of the Game for his strong performance. Senior Craig Cheney (Sherwood, Ore.), who was just named to the conference's All-Conference first team, followed with his two goals, three steals, three blocks and an ejection drawn. Classmate Andrew Dorne (Irvine, Calif.) was a strong contributor to the win, racking up four steals, an assist and an ejection drawn. Freshman keeper Nolan Kruse (Orcutt, Calif.) wrapped up the game with 16 blocks, one steal and one rebound.

Mercyhurst got on the board first less than 50 minutes into the game and enjoyed a 1-0 lead for the next four minutes until Cheney netted MIT's first goal. The Lakers took the lead, once again, but, with 27 seconds remaining on the period, Cheney scored his second to tie the score at two going into the second quarter. Mercyhurst scored three unanswered goals in the first four minutes of the next period, but the Engineers were able to pull within two following back-to-back goals by Churukian. With one goal by junior Jack Clark (Laguna Beach, Calif.) and two by the opponents, Tech went into the third quarter still trailing, 7-5.

Another goal by Churukian and one by junior Kyle Bowman (Millbrae, Calif.) tied the score at seven and a goal by senior Michael Farid (Dubai, United Arab Emirates) with two minutes left in the third period gave MIT its first lead of the game, which was not tied until three minutes into the final quarter. With five minutes left in the game and a score of 8-8, Farid scored his second to take back the lead, which was further increased a minute later when Churukian found the back of the net for the fourth time. With 1:01 remaining, the Lakers scored one more to slightly close the gap but were unable to score the equalizer before time elapsed.

Sophomore Ory Tasman (Orlando, Fla.) led the losing battle against Navy, scoring five of the Engineers' 11 goals, with all but one of them occurring in the first quarter. The sophomore, who was selected to the CWPA All-Conference second team earlier today, also added three steals and an ejection drawn. Cheney had another strong game, tallying four steals, one block and one ejection drawn and sophomore Kale Rogers (Newberg, Ore.) netted three goals, adding two ejections drawn, two steals and an assist.

MIT got off to a good start, getting on the board first when Clark snuck the ball past the goalkeeper just 30 seconds into play. Tech got a two goal lead following back-to-back goals by Tasman, but the score was tied at three after two Navy goals that were scored less than 20 seconds apart. With two more goals by Tasman and one by Farid, the Engineers were able to hold onto a 5-4 lead heading into the second period. The second quarter was very back-and-forth, with the score being tied on three different occasions before Navy finally took a 8-7 lead going into the third.

Tech were held to zero goals until the fifth minute of the third quarter, by which time, Navy had taken a 13-7 lead. Sophomore Matthew Orton (Los Altos Hills, Calif.) changed that with two minutes left when he snuck the ball past the keeper, and, with one more goal by Rogers, the game entered the final period with the Engineers trailing, 15-9. Tech allowed four more goals in the final quarter, while notching two more of its own at the hands of Tasman and Clark, and the game ended with a score of 19-11.

MIT will next be in action at 3:00 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 23, against the loser of the Princeton/Harvard game with a spot in the fifth place game on the line.