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BRIDGEPORT, Pa. — In 1813, Commodore Oliver Hazard Perry was hailed as the “Hero of Lake Erie” for leading American forces in a decisive naval victory at the Battle of Lake Erie, receiving a Congressional Gold Medal and the Thanks of Congress.

On his battle flag was the slogan, “Don’t Give Up the Ship”, a tribute to the dying command of his colleague Captain James Lawrence of USS Chesapeake.

208 years later, the slogan changes slightly to “Don’t Give Up the ‘Ship” as the Lakers of Mercyhurst University hosts Gannon University, McKendree University, Mount St. Mary’s University, Salem University and Washington & Jefferson College at the David M. Hallman III Aquatics Center for a nine-game tournament to decide who is the “Best of the West”.

The teams are divided into two brackets with top seed McKendree joined by No. 4 seed Mercyhurst and No. 5 seed Washington & Jefferson in Bracket A, while No. 2 seed Gannon, No. 3 seed Mount St. Mary’s and No. 6 seed Salem compete in Bracket B.

Competition begins at 9:00 a.m. on Saturday, February 27, when McKendree takes on Washington & Jefferson.  Gannon-vs.-Salem (11:15 a.m.), Mercyhurst-vs.-Washington & Jefferson (1:30 p.m.), Mount St. Mary’s-vs.-Salem (3:45 p.m.), Mercyhurst-vs.-McKendree (6:00 p.m.) and Gannon-vs.-Mount St. Mary’s (8:15 p.m.) complete the first day of action to set the docket for placement day on Sunday, February 28.

On Sunday, February 28, third place in both Bracket A and B meet at 9:00 a.m. for Fifth Place, while second in the two brackets clash at 11:15 a.m. for Third Place.

The title game occurs at 1:30 p.m. with both participants guaranteed berths to the eight-team MAWPC Championship at the United States Naval Academy’s Lejeune Hall on Saturday-Sunday, March 6-7, in Annapolis, Md.  The top two teams from the MAWPC-West will aim to overcome the host/No. 9-ranked Midshipmen along with Bucknell University, Fordham University, George Washington University, Iona College and La Salle University with a trip to the University of Southern California for the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Championship on the line.

Due to COVID-19 restrictions, fans are not permitted at either the Hallman Aquatics Center or the Naval Academy.

However, the Collegiate Water Polo Association (CWPA) will provide pay-per-view coverage of both championships on  A single game costs $10, while a tournament package for either the MAWPC-West or MAWPC Championship are available for $25.

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Collegiate Water Polo Association