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NEW LONDON, Conn. – Five different players found the back of the net and junior Tanner Michaelis (Ramona, Calif.) made several saves from point-blank range as the Connecticut College men’s water polo team won its home opener by an 11-8 score over Penn State Behrend. The Camels also squared off with Division III No. 4-ranked the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) later in the afternoon and fell by an 18-7 score to earn a split against two National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Division III opponents. 

In a pivotal game that is expected to have heavy seeding implications for postseason play at the Collegiate Water Polo Association (CWPA) Division III Championship, Penn State Behrend got on the scoreboard first when Austin Hoff scored at the 6:17 mark of the first quarter. However, the Camels struck back by getting two unanswered markers from senior Arturo Freitas (Weston, Fla.) and sophomore Lucas Verrilli (Evanston, Ill.) to take a 2-1 advantage before the midway point of the opening frame. Even though the Lions tied the game up three more times, the Camels had an answer in each instance and never trailed again. 

Freshman Christian Jacobsen punched in a pass from Tim Beloborodov (Moscow, Russia) to make it 4-3 with 42.2 seconds left in the first quarter, Verilli scored his second goal of the game with 26.4 seconds remaining in the second quarter to give the Camels a 6-5 edge at recess, and sophomore Mike Gertsik (Brooklyn, N.Y.) scored to break a six-all deadlock in the third quarter.

Jacobsen and Gertsik each finished with a hat trick to lead the way for the Camels.

Facing arguably their toughest competition of the weekend, the Camels stayed competitive against the Engineers of MIT at the beginning of both teams’ second game of the day before the visitors would go on a run and end the opening quarter with a 7-2 lead. Connecticut College first got a strike from Belobordov early in the second and exchanged goals during the frame, but the team would be unable to slice the deficit any further for the remainder of the game. The Engineers kept the Camels off the scoreboard during the third quarter en route to posting an 11-goal victory. 

Freshman Sam Guy (Portland, Ore.) and Gertsik paced the host school with two goals apiece in the setback.

Release courtesy Connecticut College Athletics Communications

Collegiate Water Polo Association