Water polo club picks up a win Saturday in national tournament
Published: Tuesday, November 13, 2012
Updated: Tuesday, November 13, 2012 23:11
The fists of audience members rose toward the ceiling along with the cries and shouts of victory just after the ball met the net.
This last shot signified a win for the Oregon State University men’s water polo club during its first National Collegiate Club Championship Tournament, which was held at the Osborn Aquatic Center in Corvallis on Saturday.
After a slow but steady start, the final period of the match gave the team the points they needed to bring home the win.
During the match against Cornell University, OSU students and fans sat on benches parallel to the pool and several of them wore black and orange to support the club.
This game, however, didn’t stop after the fourth and final period of regulation.
The last quarter ended with a tie game: OSU 12, Cornell 12. The match extended for two extra periods, each three minutes long. Several shots were scored by both teams in overtime, but OSU secured the win with a score of 16-14.
“It was huge,” said senior Brad Alvarez. “It was absolutely amazing to stage that comeback against Cornell and come out the winner in OT. We were seeded 16th in the tournament and it was our last game and probably my last game here at Oregon State, which made it even more special. Plus, my parents and roommates were there for an added bonus.”
During the game, the team focused on making adjustments to find Cornell’s weaknesses and creating a strategy to increase their scoring opportunities.
“Cornell came out really hot” said senior Ian Simon, who serves as the team’s head coach. “When we were finally playing our game it was realizing, ‘Let’s get to that level and let’s create a play.’”
The win allowed the club to vault to No. 13 in the nation, above No. 15 Cornell. It also gave OSU a satisfying end to the tournament it hosted.
The team often travels during the season for competitions to places such as Davis, Calif. and Ellensburg, Wash. Hosting nationals in a local facility was a positive perk for the club.
“We have our own beds to sleep in and our own resources to use,” said senior Sam Nelson, who was interviewed before the Cornell game. “I feel like it’s somewhat of an advantage.”
Before defeating Cornell, the Beavers dropped their other two games to UCLA and Michigan in the 16-team tournament.
This weekend marked the end of the competing season.
When asked about their involvement in the sport, team members were quick to speak about their passion for it.
“I’ve always loved water polo,” said junior Luke Pebley, who has been playing water polo since he was seven years old.
Many of the members have participated in the sport for several years, but the club gives OSU students a chance at trying out a game these players love.
The sport requires one to be in the water for a long period of time and this may be a difficult task for those who are new to the sport, but Coach Simon knows this.
During practice scrimmages, those with less experience are allowed to hang on the wall or rest and are closely watched by stationed lifeguards.
Water polo requires a certain amount of endurance from its players, but unlike other sports, it doesn’t leave the body in a battered condition. According to Alvarez, the sport has minimal body-to-body impact and is easy on the joints.
The club is always accepting of new members. To those looking at trying out the sport, encouragement is given from the club’s players.
“Water polo is a supremely fun sport and the guys on the team are awesome too,” Alvarez said. “Playing the game is great, but the guys on the team make everything so enjoyable.”
The club meets for practice Tuesdays through Thursdays at Langton Hall on campus.
According to Simon, the club charges $50 for general membership and $125 for traveling competitors. This gives members the choice to expand further than regular practice activities.
The main objective of the club is to introduce others and play a sport they enjoy.
“It’s a great sport,” Nelson said. “It’s real intense and that’s what I enjoy about it.”
Lauren Boyer, sports reporter