McKendree water polo ready to make a splash at varsity level
The McKendree University Bearcats got their toes wet last year as a water polo club. Now it's time to dive in as a team.
When the Bearcats open their season at a Brown University tournament, it will mark the beginning of their first year participating in the Collegiate Water Polo Association at the varsity level.
Last season as a club, McKendree compiled a 12-15 record and finished 13th at the National Collegiate Club Championships in Indiana.
This year, the Bearcats will be coached by Ryan Hall and compete in the Mid-Atlantic Water Polo Conference, which includes schools such as Brown, Bucknell and Michigan.
In a press release, Hall said that despite being its first time competing at the varsity level, the team is ready.
"Our goal is to finish in the top half of our conference," Hall said in the release. "As a new varsity program with a young roster we will experience some growing pains as we adjust to the level of competition. Our non-conference schedule is extremely difficult and it is important that we try and learn from every game to prepare for conference opponents as well as the end of season playoffs.”
Hall said the group has put in a lot of hard work in practice and he can't wait to see how the Bearcats will perform.
“I think as a team we are excited about the challenges that lie ahead, and looking forward to seeing how we stack up against some of the best teams from every division," he said.
Twelve players from last year's squad are returning, including attacked Joseph Mahan, who led the team last season with 86 goals and also claimed 23 assists.
Michael Krause and Luc Gregory will also be back. Last season, Krause scored 32 goals and led the team with 25 assists, while Gregory netted 63 goals.
After facing Brown, the Bearcats will take on California Baptist and Harvard before opening conference play at home against Monmouth College.
McKendree will finish the regular season on Oct. 6 against California Baptist. At the conference tournament, the Bearcats will face Whittier College, CalTech and Pomona-Pitzer. If McKendree performs well, it could then participate in the CWPA Division II Championships on Oct. 14.
For more information on the McKendree Bearcats water polo team, view their schedule, or purchase tickets, visit www.mckbearcats.com.