Friars Water Polo Finishes Strong

Dan McGlinn

As the fall season ends and the Malvern community celebrates the installation of two new leaders, another event in Malvern’s history has happened behind-the-scenes, unknown to many Malvernians. The Varsity Water Polo Team has finished the season wit their best finish in the Eastern Prep Water Polo Championship in Malvern history. It was an incredible combined effort, and Malvern should truly be proud of how far this sport has come in their short journey.

Going into the season, the goal was an Inter-Ac title. Unfortunately, with two losses to Penn Charter, that goal was unattainable. After this loss, many teams would tend to lose all hope and give up. Practices may get sloppy and things might begin to unravel amongst the players; however, this is not how Malvern plays. The team focused on what was ahead and prepared both mentally and physically for the final championship tournament on November 3-4. This tournament is the oldest water polo tournament on the east coast and hosts the top 16 top prep schools. In the past few years, Malvern has consistently been placed in the mid-range of the A Bracket. This year the team went into the championship tournament with a 5 seed.

Because of Superstorm Sandy, Lawrenceville, who was supposed to host the tournament, had issues with their pool systems due to the of the loss of power.  The tournament was instead played at the Haverford School. The Malvern squad opened up their play with a hard- fought game against The Hill School, and came out with a 14-11 win. Moving on to play the #1-ranked Loyola Blakefield, Malvern went down 10-5. Finally, wrapping up day 2 of the tournament, the team fought for third place against Gonzaga College High School. It was a tight match, but Malvern won 8-6 to claim the third place award. Jeff Hagen (13 goals) and Mat Cornell (1 goal, 7 assists, 6 steals) both made the All-Tournament Team and were huge contributors to the team’s success.

Overall it was an incredible performance for the Malvern squad and they really pulled it together after the unfortunate end to their Inter-Ac play, but with their best finish yet in the Easterns tournament, players and coaches are looking forward to next year.