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THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. — Division III No. 8-ranked/Division III Eastern Championship runner-up the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) earned a degree of revenge versus Division III No. 5/Division III Eastern Championship Johns Hopkins University as the Engineers dropped the Blue Jays, 9-6, in the Third Place game of the 2022 USA Water Polo Division III Collegiate Water Polo Championship hosted by California Lutheran University at the Samuelson Aquatics Center.

The game marked the rubber-match at the Division III Championship between the two perennial Division III Eastern powerhouses. In 2019 at Whittier College, MIT finished in Third Place courtesy a 20-13 victory over Johns Hopkins.  Following the 2020 event being canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the championship returned in 2021 with Johns Hopkins avenging its 2019 defeat by clipping the Engineers, 11-10, to take Third Place at Pomona-Pitzer Colleges.

In the second meeting of the year between the programs as JHU downed MIT by a 12-11 score to capture the Division III Eastern Championship on October 23 at the Hallman Aquatics Center in Erie, Pa., the Engineers trailed the Blue Jays early as JHU’s Emerson Sullivan (Gr., San Anselmo, Calif./Sir Francis Brake) put away a shot 29 seconds into the game to stake the Mid-Atlantic Water Polo Conference (MAWPC) member to a 1-0 lead.

However, the Engineers of the Northeast Water Polo Conference (NWPC) returned the favor at 5:06 as Evan Kowal (Jr., South Pasadena, Calif./South Pasadena) shook his defender and put away the equalizer to square the squads at one-all.  Kowal struck again at 4:02 by finishing a pass from Jack King (So., Los Altos, Calif./Menlo School) to put MIT ahead to stay at 2-1.  Neither team dented the twine again in the opening eight minutes.

Adam Ivatorov (Fr., Rockaway, N.Y./Staten Island Technical) added to MIT’s lead at the 4:54 mark of the second quarter to cashing in a feed from Miller Geschke (Sr., Los Altos, Calif./Menlo School) to widen the gap to 3-1. Sullivan delivered a counter-strike for JHU at 2:47, but Luke Apostolides (Fr., Greenwich, Conn./Brunswick School) found Kowal with a pass 27 seconds later to return the spread to a pair at 4-2.  Alexander Freedline (Jr., Miami, Fla./Ransom Everglades) further insulated the lead by converting a man-up chance off a pass from King with 1:58 left in the first half to provide MIT a 5-2 scoreboard advantage.

Ivatorov continued the Engineers’ offensive onslaught by cashing in an assist from Kowal with 50 seconds left on the second quarter clock.  However, Sullivan fired home a shot off a pass from Ian Raley (So., Baltimore, Md./Gilman) on a six-on-five opportunity with 28 ticks left to shrink the Blue Jays’ deficit to 6-3 heading into halftime.

Johns Hopkins attempted to climb back into the game during the opening moments of the third quarter as Sullivan put away a helper from Raley with a man-up strike at 5:35 to inch the Blue Jays to within a pair at 6-4.  The duo reversed the scoring order at 4:17 as Sullivan found Raley for a natural score to shrink the Engineers’ lead down to one at 6-5.

Needing some offense to stymie the Blue Jays comeback bid, Ivatorov delivered by putting away a feed from Apostolides at the 2:17 mark to inflate the margin to 7-5.  A penalty shot by Geschke with 47 seconds left widened the gap to 8-5 heading into the fourth quarter.

Following over five minutes of back-and-forth scoreless action, Ivatorov added to the lead with 2:42 left in regulation by finishing a feed from Apostolides to make it a 9-5 game.

Hopkins chipped a goal off its final margin of defeat with 37 seconds left as Gavin Brooke (Fr., Fort Washington, Pa./La Salle College) found Sullivan for a man-up tally to establish the 9-6 final score.

For MIT, which concludes the season with an 8-20 record, Ivatorov (four goals, two drawn exclusions, three steals), Apostolides (three assists, five steals), Freedline (one goal, one drawn exclusion, one steal), Richard Yun (So., Irvine, Calif./Arnold O. Beckman) (two drawn exclusions, one steal), King (two assists, one drawn exclusion, five steals), Kowal (three goals, one assist) and Geschke (one goal, one assist, one drawn exclusion, two steals) provided all the offense netminder Colin Weaver (Jr., Huntington Beach, Calif./Mater Dei) (eight saves, six goals against, six steals) needed to collect the victory.

Sullivan (five goals, one assist, four drawn exclusions, one steal), Quint Steffey (Fr., Capistrano Beach, Calif./Santa Margarita Catholic) (one steal), Cameron Burns (Jr., Irvine, Calif./Orange Lutheran) (four steals), Mark Poisler (So., Spring, Texas/Strake Jesuit College Prep) (one drawn exclusion), Kami Eslami (Sr., Mission Viejo, Calif./Capistrano Valley) (one drawn exclusion, one steal), Raley (one goal, two assists, two drawn exclusions, five steals), Paul Gensbigler (Jr., Mechanicsburg, Pa./Cumberland Valley) (one drawn exclusion), Chris Freese (Sr., Bellevue, Wash./Interlake) (one drawn exclusion, two steals) and Brooke (one assist, one steal) accounted for the majority of JHU’s offense in the field.  Kyle Pearson (So., Key Biscayne, Fla./Laurel Springs School (Calif.)) took the loss with eight saves, nine goals allowed and two steals as Johns Hopkins wraps up the season with an 11-27 record.


Massachusetts Institute of Technology – 2022 USA Water Polo Division III Collegiate Water Polo Championship Third Place

Collegiate Water Polo Association