St. Francis Looks to Rebound From Disappointing Loss With 3 Home Matches

After making Collegiate Water Polo Association (CWPA) history on Wednesday night at Princeton, NJ in the first ever Northeastern Water Polo Conference (NWPC) match — a tough 9-8 loss to the host Tigers — the St. Francis Brooklyn men’s water polo team (4-7; 0-1 NWPC) looks to bounce back in conference matches at home this weekend against rivals Brown, Harvard and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

First up is M.I.T. (4-3; 0-0 NWPC) at 11am in the Generoso Pope Athletic Center pool. The Engineers seek a second straight win over their Brooklyn rivals following last year's 14-13 win in Cambridge — breaking a 22 year-long losing streak to the Terriers.

At 5pm, Harvard University (10-1; 0-0 NWPC) — #8 in the latest CWPA Men's Varsity Poll and the East's top-ranked squad — will be up next for St. Francis. The Crimson will look to extend a modest three-match winning streak over the Terriers, including a 13-8 victory in the 2015 CWPA playoffs.

On Sunday at 10am Brown University (8-5; 0-0 NWPC) will revisit one of the fiercest rivalries in Eastern water polo. In 2014 the Bears ended the Terriers’ run of nine-straight Northern Division titles on their way to their first appearance in the NCAA Men's Water Polo Tournament in 29 years.

Wednesday night’s contest was a back and forth affair which left the St. Francis faithful largely disappointed. The Terriers, who fell behind by two goals within the first 2 minutes of the match and trailed 7-4 midway through the third period, rallied to tie the Tigers at 8-all late in the fourth on a shot by Luka Budak. The 6-7 freshman’s goal capped an uphill struggle against Vojislav Mitrovic, Princeton’s superb junior netminder who registered a program high 20 saves, none bigger than a stop against St. Francis captain Ilija Djuretic on a penalty shot midway through the second period.

Given the chance to give his team the lead with less than three minutes remaining by virtue of a questionable 5-meter penalty agains the visitors, Tigers junior Jordan Colina didn’t miss, capping a four-goal game with a blast past Terrier freshman goalie Viktor Klauzer. The game’s final tally gave Princeton (8-5; 1-0 NWPC) the win in this first-ever regular season meeting between two of the East’s best programs.

Sophomores Nikita Prokhin and Botond Kadar led St. Francis with two goals each, while freshman Will Lampkin had a strong game, netting a goal while matched up against the speedy Colina.

Despite the loss, St. Francis has an excellent opportunity on Saturday to get back into the NWPC mix; a strong showing this weekend — especially against Harvard's experienced attackers Colin Chiapello, Joey Colton, and Noah Harrison — will do wonders for the confidence of a young Terrier lineup.

All matches take place in the St. Francis Brooklyn pool (180 Remsen Street — between Court and Clinton Streets in Brooklyn Heights). For more information contact the St. Francis Brooklyn Athletics Department.

St. Francis sophomore Nikita Prokhin in action last year against Harvard

St. Francis sophomore Nikita Prokhin in action last year against Harvard