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Water Polo Starts off Season 1-1

By Matthew Lau

Men's water polo opened its regular season schedule on Saturday with the annual Cambridge Invitational Tournament here at MIT. The engineers narrowly defeated the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy by a score of 1513 at noon and then dropped a one-goal game to Rochester Institute of Technology 1514.

In the first game, the Engineers came out slow, allowing Merchant Marine to build an 116 halftime lead. Led by Captain Zachary Ota Lee '98 and his power offense, the Engineers retaliated with a six-goal third period, to bring themselves to within one goal before the fourth quarter, with the score at 1312.

The Engineers then executed a stifling defense against Merchant Marine, holding them scoreless, while putting another three goals in to seal the win. The game was highlighted by Lee's six goals and a skip-bar goalie's head-in shot from the outside by Milos Komarcevic '99.

As in the first game, the Engineers were a little sluggish at the start of their second game against RIT. Beginning in the third period, plagued by fouls, MIT trailed 106, but came out firing. Four quick penalty shots drawn by Lee brought the Engineers close at 1110.

The bout went on goal for goal until the score moved to 1514 with 3:30 left in the final quarter. The Engineers rallied hard and held their opponent scoreless but were unable to ignite their offense and score another goal, and they suffered their first loss of the season.

This year's Engineers are led by coach John Benedick, assistant coach Jeff Ma '94, and goalie trainer Evan Weis '96. Co-captains Lee and 1995 All-East selection Matthew Lau '97 bring their years of collective water polo experience to the team. Veterans Mark Lebovitz '98, Adrian Gomez '99, and Komarcevic round out the returning varsity lineup.

The depth of this year's team is aided by the arrival of nine freshmen, among them California phenoms Danny Hong '00, Larry Aller '00, and rookie speedster Ben Chun '00. Left-handed neophyte Ken McCracken '00 backs up veteran southpaw Mike McCarrol '99 to add some power from the right side of the pool, and powerhouses James Montgomery '98 and Ray Oshtory '98 will come off the bench to provide some lethal force from the outside.

In an amazing display of athletic versatility, Aaron Wong '98 has switched into the goal for the Engineers and is backed by freshman shotstopper Aditya Prabhakar '00.

The competition for the Engineers is tough. The team looks to go after rivals Harvard University and Boston College as well foes Johns Hopkins and Merchant Marine.

Next on the season's schedule, the team will host the first Collegiate Water Polo Association tournament tomorrow, when they will play Queens College at 10 a.m., Fordham University at 1:30 p.m., and Iona College at 6:30 pm.

Future home events include BC at 6 p.m. on Thursday and Harvard at 7 p.m. on Sept. 24. On Oct. 10, the Engineers play BC again at 7 p.m.