Men's water polo wins big on senior night; recollects a season of achievement
The Concordia Courier
By Christopher Sexton | 11/10/2023
Men’s water polo defeated Fresno Pacific on Sat., Nov. 4 in a triumphant 13-7 win in the last home game of the season. This victory was particularly special in that it took place on senior night, where players Hunter Osgood and Tanner Powell, as well as the late Garrett Ryder Wade, were all honored.
Looking back at the start of the season, junior Jackson Milius recalled the first few days of practice. “I think a highlight was getting everybody together for the first time,” Milius said. “We have a lot of new people and a new coach, and I think that was super cool.”
Justin Johnson, the new head water polo coach, set up a rigorous practice schedule for the team. “It was hard,” said sophomore Leo Erickson in reference to “double days,” the team’s two-practice-a-day regimen. “It was hard, but I think it set us up pretty well for the season. What we saw against a lot of the teams we’ve been playing is that they’re just in not as good of shape as us, so that’s given us an advantage.”
The Golden Eagle’s began their season with the Triton Invitational in La Jolla. Erickson spoke about this event, saying “For me, one of the highlights was our game against Santa Barbara. Even though we lost, we had a really, really good score and a really competitive game, they’re ranked really high.” The team went on to get their first win of the season against Pomona-Pitzer, which Milius described to be pivotal for the team because it “got everybody pumped up.” This winning mindset carried on throughout the season, and eventually led to the team’s big win against Fresno Pacific.
Following the Fresno Pacific game, seniors Osgood and Powell, both goalies, were honored and will be missed by the team sorely. “I’m for sure gonna miss Hunter and Tanner,” said Milius. “Hunter’s been my main goalie for the last two years, and Tanner stepped up really big this year and has been doing really great. They’ve made a big impact on this team.”
After Osgood and Powell were introduced at the senior night ceremony, they both stepped out of the spotlight for a moment and allowed some words to be said about Garrett Ryder Wade, a water polo team member who passed away three years ago. “Although we never got to the point of playing in the season with him, I think he, even not being here, set the standard for what the team has become: like a family,” said Osgood. “He just, like, introduced us to more of the type of team chemistry that we bring to the pool. I feel like if it wasn’t for him, and even what happened, we wouldn’t be where we’re at now.”
Looking into the future, the Golden Eagles expect a powerful 2024 water polo season. “We have a really good team shaping up,” said Milius, “And I think we’re going to get a lot of new recruits that will be beneficial for this team.” Erickson expressed the expectations of the team moving forward: “I think as a team it would be really good for us to shut out and win against everyone in conference pretty substantially. That means teams like Biola, FPU; those are games that we really want to focus on winning next year.”
The Golden Eagles have wrapped up all of their regular season games, but still have the Western Water Polo Association (WWPA) championships coming up. The championships will be played on Nov. 17-19 in O’Fallon, Illinois. Live coverage and stats will be found on the WWPA website.
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