ERIE, Pa. — Goalie Caine Dusza (Fr., Souderton, Pa./Souderton) came off the bench at halftime and made eight saves over the final 16 minutes of regulation to help Washington & Jefferson College rally for an 8-7 defeat of Monmouth College on the final day of the 2019 Mid-Atlantic Water Polo Conference (MAWPC)-West Region Championship.
Due to the win, W&J guarantees itself at least a Top Six finish in the seven-team championship field among Connecticut College, Gannon University, McKendree University, Mercyhurst University, Monmouth, Salem and the Presidents. Washington & Jefferson will take on Connecticut College – which downed Monmouth on Saturday, November 9, by a 17-8 score – for Fifth Place at Noon later today.
The loss guarantees a Seventh Place finish for Monmouth as the Fighting Scots wrap-up their weekend with an 0-3 mark following losses to McKendree (23-8 L) and Connecticut on November 9. Historically, Monmouth has previously finished Sixth (2016, seven teams), Seventh (2017, eight teams) and Seventh (2018, seven teams) in the three prior MAWPC-West Championship tournaments all at the David M. Hallman III Aquatics Center.
The game was nip-tuck from the opening sprint to the final horn as neither Monmouth nor W&J could pull away from their foe.
Washington & Jefferson struck first in the game as Ryan Bannon (Fr., Bloomfield, Colo./Bloomfield) rifled in a shot at the 4:35 mark of the first quarter to push the Presidents out to a 1-0 lead. Jesus Aguirre (Sr., Cicero, Ill./Morton East) delivered a response at 2:12 to balance the scoreboard, but Dylan Gwinn (Sr., Baltimore, Md./Mount St. Joseph) wailed in another go-ahead score with 46 seconds on the clock to hand W&J at 2-1 lead after eight minutes of action.
However, the second quarter was the domain of Monmouth as Aguirre (6:59, even-strength), Jared Hankinson (Sr., St. Louis, Mo./Kirkwood) (1:29, penalty shot) and Joseph Addison (Fr., Eads, Tenn./Faith Heritage Christian Academy) (28 seconds, even-strength) racked up back-to-back-to-back goals to turn a one-goal deficit into a 4-2 lead by halftime.
The tides turned for Washington & Jefferson in the opening moments of the third quarter as Andrew Edwards (Fr., Columbus, Ohio/St. Charles Prep) (7:14, even-strength) and Cam Spicer (So., Lansing, Mich./East Lansing) (6:24, man-up) knotted the contest at four-all via consecutive strikes.
W&J never trailed the rest of the way as Elijah Muzzi (Fr., Honolulu, Hawaii/Punahou) and Spicer dented the twine at 5:48 and 4:38, respectively, to cap off a four-goal outburst by the Presidents and help acquire a 6-4 lead.
The Fighting Scots refused to be counted out, however, as Hankinson drove in a shot with 2:21 left in the third quarter to move Monmouth back within one at 6-5 heading into the final eight minutes of regulation.
Addison knotted the score at the 6:26 mark of the fourth quarter to commence a final sprint to the final horn in which both teams traded offensive blows.
Gwinn (4:32, even-strength) and Aguirre (4:14, man-up) returned and erased W&J’s lead at 7-6 and 7-7, respectively, prior to Muzzi putting in the golden spike with 46 seconds left to push the Presidents ahead 8-7.
Monmouth had two chances to net the equalizer, but the Washington & Jefferson defense stiffened to allow the Presidents to escape with a one-goal win.
The victory marked the second of the year for W&J versus Monmouth as the Presidents claimed a 16-11 victory on September 28 at home in Washington, Pa.
For Washington & Jefferson, Spicer, Muzzi and Gwinn all netted pairs of tallies, while Bannon and Edwards connected for solo markers.
In cage, Nick Spehar (Sr., Perkasie, Pa./Pennridge) earned the start and made seven saves with four goals allowed in the first half. Dusza came on at halftime and turned aside eight shots with three goals allowed as the Presidents rallied for the win.
On the other end of the tank, Aguirre (three), Addison (two) and Hankinson (two) all posted multi-goal games in support of a 17 save effort from netminder Kyle Jones (So., Parkland, Fla./Stoneman Douglas).
|1st Q||2nd Q||3rd Q||4th Q||–||FINAL|
|Washington & Jefferson College||2||0||4||2||–||8|
|W&J Goals:||Cam Spicer (2); Elijah Muzzi (2); Dylan Gwinn (2); Ryan Bannon; Andrew Edwards|
|Monmouth Goals:||Jesus Aguirre (3); Joseph Addison (2); Jared Hankinson (2)|
|Saves:||W&J – ; Nick Spehar (7, 16 minutes), Caine Dusza (8, 16 minutes); Monmouth – Kyle Jones (17)|
|Exclusions:||W&J – 8 ; Monmouth – 7|
|Advantage Opportunities:||W&J – 2-for-7 ; Monmouth – 1-for-8|
|Sprints:||W&J – 3-for-4 (2nd, 3rd, 4th) ; Monmouth – 1-for-4 (1st)|
|Cards/Misconducts:||Monmouth – YC/RC (Head coach Peter Ollis, 8:00 left in 2nd Q)|
|Officials:||Igor Mernenko; Brandon Nicholson|
Monmouth College’s Tommy Schneider (#17) attempts to get around Washington & Jefferon College’s Kyle Rubenstein (#4)
Washington & Jefferson College’s Andrew Edwards (#18) shoots as Monmouth College’s Quentin Bartram (#7) defends
Monmouth College’s Joseph Addison (#20) lifts a shot over Washington & Jefferson College’s Ethan Moy (#5)