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ERIE, Pa. — McKendree University picked up a pair of Mid-Atlantic Water Polo Conference (MAWPC)-West Region victories over Washington & Jefferson College, 20-5, and host Mercyhurst University, 14-6, at the Hallman Aquatics Center during the opening day of league competition.

The pair of wins improve McKendree to 3-2 on the season and 2-0 in the MAWPC-West Region.

Against Washington & Jefferson, McKendree topped the 20 goal plateau for the second time this season as they scored 21 goals in a 21-12 win over Ottawa University (Ariz.) at the Rare Air Challenge on the opening weekend of the season (September 5). The Bearcats have now won 11 consecutive MAWPC-West Region games since suffering a 19-15 loss to Gannon University to open league play in 2019.

Facing Mercyhurst, the Bearcats were outshot, 25-24, but they outsccored Mercyhurst by a 10-2 count in the second and third quarters to pick up the win.

Eight different McKendree players scored at least one goal in Saturday’s league opener, including senior attacker Nico Rodriguez (Bogota, Colombia/Oviedo) scoring five goals in the win. In addition to Rodriguez, sophomore center Adam Serrano (Riverside, Calif./Poly) and graduate student utility player Michael Rojas (Cali, Colombia/San Joaquin Parroquial/Salem University) each had two goals.

McKendree scored the first two goals of the game as Rodriguez found the net just 97 seconds into the contest.  Approximately two minutes later, senior attcker Josh Carlson (New Lenox, Ill./Lincoln Way West) buried a chance to give McKendree a 2-0 lead.  However, Mercyhurst rallied to score twice over the final 3:18 of the first quarter to tie things up at two-all.

In the second quarter, McKendree scored four unanswered goals to take a 6-2 lead at the half, including Serrano heaving in a shot right before the end of the half.

Rodriguez opened the third quarter with two consecutive goals to give McKendree an 8-2 lead. 

Following tallies by Teagan Thomas and Michael Gutman to trim the lead to 8-4, the Bearcats ended the quarter by scoring four consecutive strikes to take a 12-4 lead into the fourth quarter. Rojas scored two of those goals, while Serrano and senior utility player Jackson Spencer (O’Fallon, Mo./Fort Zumwalt West) added the other marker.

Both teams found the back of the cage twice in the fourth quarter to complete the scoring.

Thomas and Kagen combined for five of Mercyhurst’s six goals against Mercyhurst.

Fifth-year senior Ori Scanlon (Orlando, Fla./Olympia) collected six saves and allowed six goals, while Mercyhurst’s Tony Golin permitted 14 goals and made five saves.

Release courtesy McKendree University Athletics Communications

Collegiate Water Polo Association