CAMBRIDGE, Mass. — No. 18-ranked Brown University men’s water polo topped Division III No. 6-ranked the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), 12-7, and fell to No. 9 Harvard University, 10-4, in a pair of Northeast Water Polo Conference (NWPC) games at the Zesiger Sports and Fitness Center and Blodgett Pool, respectively.
Playing their final games of the regular season, the Bears (20-11, 6-4 NWPC) reached the 20-win plateau in their victory over the Engineers (10-12, 2-7 NWPC) before dropping their regular season finale to the undefeated and top-10 ranked Crimson (26-0, 9-0 NWPC).
Brown has now reached the 20-win mark for the ninth time in the last 10 seasons. The Bears have posted 20-win seasons in 10 out of 13 years under head coach Felix Mercado. Brown won 11 of its final 14 games to close the regular season.
The Bears have earned the No. 3 seed for the 2019 NWPC Championship and will meet No. 6 seed Iona College in the first round on Friday, November 22 at 4:00 p.m. at MIT in Cambridge. Semifinals for the tournament will take place on November 23 with the finals occurring on Nov. 24. Other seeds for the tournament include No. 1 Harvard, No. 2 Princeton University, No. 4 St. Francis College Brooklyn, and No. 5 MIT.
“Our regular season is now complete,” Mercado said. “We’ll take these next two weeks to evaluate ourselves and prepare for the conference tournament. Our team has worked hard all season, and we want to put our best foot forward when we return to MIT on November 22.”
Both of Brown’s goalkeepers made double-figure saves on the day. Sophomore Ugo Piovan (Vouliagmeni, Greece) made 14 saves against MIT, and junior Riad Hallal (Coronado, Calif.) turned aside 12 shots against Harvard.
Seniors Will Collier (Darien, Conn.), Armen Deirmenjian (Beverly Hills, Calif.) and James Thygesen (Menlo Park, Calif.) as well as freshman Leo Berkman (Orinda, Calif.) all scored two goals apiece as No. 18 Brown bested MIT, 12-7, at the Zesiger Sports and Fitness Center in its first game of the day.
The Bears took an 8-2 lead at halftime and extended the edge to 10-2 in the third quarter on their way to the win over the host Engineers.
With the victory, Brown has won 11 of its last 13 games and has posted 20 wins for the ninth time in the last 10 seasons. The Bears have posted 20-win seasons in 10 out of 13 years under head coach Felix Mercado.
Deirmenjian added two assists and three steals to his two goals while Thygesen chipped in an assist alongside his two goals. Collier and Berkman also tied for the team lead with two goals apiece.
Sophomore Matt Simko (Coral Gables, Fla.) registered a goal and two ejections drawn, sophomore Andrew Penner (Atherton, Calif.) scored a goal, and senior Galen Hu (Colleyville, Texas) and freshman Nick Berry (San Anselmo, Calif.) each distributed two assists.
In the cage, Piovan made 14 saves for his seventh double-figure save performance of the season.
After MIT scored the game’s first goal, Brown netted seven unanswered tallies to move ahead 7-1 in the second quarter. Thygesen, Reilly, and Collier started the rally with goals that gave Brown a 3-1 lead at the end of the first quarter.
A pair of goals from Deirmenjian and single tallies from Thygesen and Penner capped the run, making the score 7-1. A goal from Collier staked Brown to an 8-2 halftime advantage.
Berkman netted the first two goals of the third quarter, finishing off a 10-1 run that provided the Bears with a 10-2 margin. The Engineers scored the final three goals of the stanza, cutting their deficit to 10-5.
In the fourth quarter, goals from Simko and Atwell offset a pair of tallies from MIT.
Brown swept the regular season series from MIT as the Bears topped the Engineers, 17-12, on October 12.
Playing in their regular season finale, the Bears remained within 4-1 of the Crimson at halftime but could pull no closer in the second half.
Atwell paced the Brown offense, while Deirmenjian totaled a goal, two field blocks and an ejection drawn.
Hallal registered his 10th double-figure save performance of the season behind his 12 saves.
After Harvard took a 2-0 lead at the end of the first quarter, a goal from Deirmenjian in the second quarter cut the margin to 2-1. The Crimson then took a 4-1 lead at halftime.
In the third quarter, a goal from Berry and two tallies from Atwell kept the Bears within 9-4 heading to the final stanza. The Crimson netted the lone goal of the fourth frame.
Brown dropped the regular season series to Harvard, 2-0, as the Bears fell to the Crimson, 12-5, on October 12.
Release courtesy Brown University Athletics Communications