By Branson Hardcastle | Reporter
Baylor men’s water polo concluded its season finishing in fourth-place over the weekend at the Texas Division Championship at Rice University.
Going into the tournament, Baylor was 4-4 and ranked sixth in the Texas Division of the Collegiate Water Polo Association. The tournament consisted of 12 teams, including Texas A&M, University of Texas, Rice University and Texas Tech University.
The club’s first game was against No. 3 Texas A&M B team. They met earlier in the season in a tournament at Texas Tech University which Texas A&M B won 9-6.
Houston senior set player and club president Will Havens said the rematch against Texas A&M B was one of the most important games of the season for the club.
“This was the most pivotal game we had all season. It was the first game of the tournament and we knew if we won this game, the lowest we could get in the tournament was fourth place,” Havens said. “We knew we had to win that game. We put all of our effort into that game.”
Baylor played one of their best games, according to Havens. The team moved the ball well and was able to control the game at points to stand strong against Texas A&M B. With 30 seconds left in the game, Baylor was down 9-8. Havens managed to get the ball in the middle of the defense and fired a bullet into the back of the goal to even the game at 9 scores a piece. Neither team was able to score again in regulation, pushing the game to overtime.
The game went into two overtimes with neither team managing a goal. After both overtimes, the game went to golden goal or a sudden death overtime period in which the first team to score wins the game. Havens caught the ball again in the middle of the defense and managed to score in the early parts of golden goal to get the win for Baylor.
Baylor’s next game was against No. 2 Texas A&M A team. This game was a duel of defenses. Neither team’s offense was able to find a groove because of the strong defensive play. In the end, Texas A&M A proved to be too much for Baylor and won the game 4-1.
Baylor then took on No. 4 Rice University in the third and fourth place game. The Bears played hard against Rice, but fell short again, losing 7-4. This resulted in a fourth-place finish for the tournament.
San Diego, Calif., senior captain Matt Ryan said the club could have played better against Rice, but that fatigue may have played a role.
“We were pretty tired by the time we played Rice. I felt like we could have put on a better showing against them but we got down early in the game and that made it tough to come back,” Ryan said. “We started to make a comeback but because of the first quarter we couldn’t climb all the way back.”
Baylor finished the season with a 5-6 overall record and did not advance to the National Collegiate Club Championship.