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The Scarlet & Black

The Scarlet & Black

Water polo preps for Nationals

Zach Laird ’17 attempts to block an opponent’s shot. Photo by John Brady.

The men’s water polo team competed last weekend in the Great Plains Division’s second tournament of the season in Ames, Iowa against four schools: Illinois State University, University of Minnesota, Marquette University and Iowa State University. Despite completing a sweep in the first tournament, the team won just two of their games.

“We were short-handed this weekend and swim season started, so many in the team … were all pretty tired and run-down,” said Tim Sherwood ’16.

On Saturday, the team lost to Illinois State 12-8, but beat Minnesota by forfeit. The Pioneers started the next day with a 12-7 victory against Marquette, but fell to Iowa State 12-9 to conclude the tournament. With the season record of 6-2, Grinnell stands in third place behind Illinois State and Iowa State in the division.

Zach Laird ’17 attempts to block an opponent’s shot. Photo by John Brady.
Zach Laird ’17 attempts to block an opponent’s shot. Photo by John Brady.

According to Sherwood, some players could not play last weekend due to unexpected circumstances. He also noted that Grinnell did not play the hardest teams in the previous tournament.

“We knew it was going to be a lot more challenging against Illinois State [because] they were the number one seed,” said Kyren DiMarzio ’17. “We were preparing ourselves for a more competitive lineup of games.”

Since the team has joined the Great Plains Division, comprised only of Division I schools except Grinnell, the men knew they would be facing tougher competition throughout the season.

“We didn’t realize this, but our team is really, really small,” Sherwood said. “Compared to other teams with armies of guys, we just have a smaller team. We look like we shouldn’t be any good.”

However, the team is preparing more strategies in order to even the competition.

“The big thing is we can’t outswim these guys anymore or outmuscle them,” Sherwood said. “It has to be a more sophisticated offense where we actually have to think about what we’re doing and make good passes and make sure we’re playing smart.”

Both Sherwood and DiMarzio attribute the lessened pressure to creating a more relaxed and fun environment within the team to prepare for bigger games.

“It’s more out there to have fun and be an underdog,” Sherwood said “[There is] zero pressure and it’s much easier to play with no pressure, so it’ll definitely show in our playing.”

The team will participate in the Great Plains Division Championships in Minneapolis on Oct. 25 and 26. Grinnell will first play against Minnesota and then Iowa State.

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