November 8, 2012
When twelve members of the men’s water polo team traveled to Middlebury, VT the weekend of Nov. 3rd, they had high hopes to make a strong showing in the team’s 3rd consecutive year at Nationals.
The Continentals went head to head against nine NESCAC teams, including Wesleyan, Middlebury, and Carnegie Melon. They played Middlebury twice and beat the Panthers the second time around. While the team had hoped to rank higher than 7th place, senior captain Daniel Levine stated, “we were happy our last game was a rematch against Middlebury and that we came out on top.”
The student-run team began practicing as soon as the school year began and competed in four tournaments throughout the fall season.
The Conts traveled to West Point for their first tournament at the end of September, where they won two of the four games they played. They beat Syracuse University and Binghamton and lost to Cornell and Columbia. In mid-October, they beat New York University and Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, but lost to the US Military Academy at the RPI-hosted competition.
The team has a long-standing rivalry with NYU, so defeating the Bobcats at both the RPI tourney and at home during the NY State Championships the weekend of Oct. 20 drove the team members to play their hardest yet. At States, they ranked 4th out of nine teams and placed in a winner’s bracket for the first time in a state championship in the team’s four-year history.
The Conts did not lose any games to Division III schools until reaching Nationals, which speaks to their strong work ethic and team rapport.
Graham Boyd ’14, captain and team goalie, said that although the team is relatively small, “we rely on our tough defense to keep us in the close and team goalie, said that although the team is relatively small, “we rely on our tough defense to keep us in the close games.
For the third year in a row, Hamilton proved that it has one of the most effective defenses in the league, shutting down some of the best DIII offensive players across the country. Our endurance and enthusiasm allowed us to outplay teams twice our size.”
The third team captain, senior Tom Youngblood, has proved himself a standout player over the past several seasons. He was recognized as an all-American last year, and after the 2012 Nationals, he joined the first-team all-tournament honor roll. Youngblood is pleased with the team’s consistency and growth this season.
“Making nationals these three consecutive years has been pretty incredible given that our program has only existed for four. We love the high octane competition.”
Though water polo will lose four starting seniors next year, the current players are confident that the team will be able to continue its positive playing trajectory. Youngblood advises that next year, “the team will need to build up some depth and rely on teamwork more than ever.”
However, making it to Nationals for the third year in a row leaves the players with confidence that they can go for a fourth consecutive showing next season. In Youngblood’s words, “having the privilege to represent Hamilton on the national stage is certainly about as good as it gets.”