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UNITED STATES AIR FORCE ACADEMY, Colo. — Sophomore Niko Bhatia (Los Altos, Calif.) and senior James Thygesen (Menlo Park, Calif.) each posted hat-tricks as the No. 20-ranked Brown University men’s water polo topped Division III No. 5 Chapman University, 13-9, at the Rare Air 2-Air Force Invitational hosted by the Falcons at Cadet Natatorium.

Playing in their third game of the weekend, the Bears used a 5-0 run to close the game and defeat the Panthers.

“It is nice to finish the weekend with a win,” said Brown head coach Felix Mercado. “We are looking forward to using our off weekend as effectively as possible in order to prepare for the start of conference play in October.”

Bhatia totaled three goals, two assists, and one steal while Thygesen finished with three goals and one assist.

Junior Aidan Reilly (Los Angeles, Calif.) and freshman Leo Berkman (Orinda, Calif.) each netted two goals while Berkman distributed four assists. Sophomores Gabe Kaplan (Santa Monica, Calif.) and Matt Simko (Coral Gables, Fla.) and freshman Nick Berry (San Anselmo, Calif.) registered one goal apiece.

Senior Armen Deirmenjian (Beverly Hills, Calif.) contributed a team-high five field blocks and drew three ejections.

In the cage, junior goalkeeper Riad Hallal (Coronado, Calif.) made 14 saves and added two assists. He posted his sixth double-figure save performance of the season.

In the first quarter, Thygesen opened the game’s scoring before Chapman converted twice to take a 2-1 edge at the end of one.

The Bears responded with a 3-0 run to start the second quarter to pull ahead 4-2. Kaplan started the run before Bhatia netted back-to-back goals. A goal from Simko inside of the quarter’s final minute gave Brown a 5-3 lead at the break.

After Berry initiated the third quarter’s scoring, Chapman scored three straight goals to tie the score at 6-6. Goals from Berkman and Reilly helped the Bears keep the score knotted at 8-8 heading to the final frame.

Following a goal from Chapman to start the fourth quarter, the Bears closed the game on a 5-0 run. Brown scored its five goals in a span of 3:24. Thygesen began the streak with back-to-back goals before Bhatia, Berkman and Reilly scored in order.

Release courtesy Brown University Athletics Communications

Collegiate Water Polo Association