Last weekend, men’s water polo won the Colonial Division Championship at the Samuelson-Muir Pool in Williamstown, Mass. The victory earned the team a bid to the Div. III Collegiate Club Championship to be held at Macalester in Saint Paul, Minn. from Oct. 31 to Nov. 1. The men entered the weekend as the top seed, having edged out the U.S. Coast Guard Academy with the best regular season record. However, only one team could advance from the divisional round to qualify for the national tournament.
This weekend’s tournament seemed to be Williams’ best chance at advancing to the national level in recent memory. To earn its top seed, the team had an impressive regular season record of 7-1, a stark turnaround from its 0-8 regular season record from three years ago. However, the only way to punch its ticket to Minnesota was to win last weekend’s tournament.
Standing in their way were the five other teams in attendance that make up the Colonial Division. In addition to the U.S. Coast Guard Academy, the formidable No. 2 seed, Williams faced significant opposition in Little Three rivals Wesleyan and Amherst. Wesleyan owns Williams’ only loss this season, which came in a close game during a tournament at Wesleyan on Oct. 3. Amherst has always been a tough competitor for Williams, and were the victors of last year’s divisional tournament (then the North Atlantic Division).
On the first day of this year’s tournament, Williams moved through University of Massachusetts at Amherst by a score of 16-5 and defeated Amherst 13-5. Then, after the Coast Guard Academy beat Wesleyan 8-7 in the last game of the first day, the finals were set for the top two seeds to meet on Sunday afternoon: Williams against Coast Guard.
In the final game, six different Williams players scored goals in the men’s 10-point effort, including one from young standout J. D. Armes ’19 and the astounding four-goal performance from co-captain Gordon Finnie ’16. Andrew Lyness ’17 anchored the team as goalie, making many crucial saves down the stretch as the worn-down Ephs were clinging to their lead. In the end, the collective efforts of the whole team produced a final score of 10-8 in favor of the Ephs.
“I’m happy that we get to celebrate such a successful season with a great win in our own pool,” Finnie said, “and I know the team is looking forward to competing in Minnesota against more great teams.”
The men will travel west and hop back in the pool in Saint Paul, Minn., to play the host school, Macalester, on Oct. 31 to start off their Collegiate Club Championship campaign. They will compete until Nov. 1 when a national champion is announced.