he Gannon University men’s water polo team continued to state its dominance in the pools of Erie, as the Knights put on a show in posting an 18-8 road win over Penn State Behrend Saturday at the Junker Center.
After Gannon’s school-record 10-game win streak was snapped Oct. 23 by Salem International, the Knights have hopped back on the victory train with a 13-11 win over Mercyhurst on Oct. 24 and continued it on Saturday, defeating the Lions.
The win over Penn State Behrend was Gannon’s 12th of the season, which is the most for a Gannon team since the 2009 season.
That year, the Knights finished 13-12. This year Gannon takes a 12-4 record into this weekend’s Mid-Atlantic Water Polo Conference Western Division Championship.
The Knights are the No. 1 seed in the tournament and will play at 4:30 p.m. Saturday against the winner of the Mercyhurst-Washington & Jefferson game, which starts at 9:30 a.m.
All games will be played at Cathedral Prep’s David M. Hallman III Aquatics Center. Sunday’s championship game is set to start at 1:30 p.m.
Freshman Riley Hinkley began the charge for Gannon in Saturday’s win over Penn State Behrend, as he scored three of his game-high five goals in the first stanza.
The team contributed five more goals that quarter, giving the Knights an 8-1 lead going into the second period.
According to Hinkley, all six freshmen started the game and it was a good opportunity for them, himself included, to showcase their talents.
“It felt great to show what I could do in a game, and I know other freshman felt the same way,” Hinkley said.
In the second period, the Knights tallied three more goals and the Lions put four more notches on the board making the score 11-5 going into halftime.
Freshman Bryan McNitt scored the first of five Gannon goals in the third quarter and Gannon and the Lions each posted two more, making it 16-7 in favor of the Knights.
The fourth and final quarter proved to be another good one as Gannon scored two more goals, one of which was Hinkley’s fifth goal at the 7-minute, 51-second second mark, and Behrend netted one more goal.
With the two additional goals and seven saves by senior Nick Fagen the Knights were able to pull off the win over the Lions.
Brett Rehrer shared time in goal with Fagen, stopping nine shots while giving up four goals.
In addition to Hinkley’s five goals, Jack Donnelly and Vladimir Diaz each added three goals while McNitt and Thomas Squeglia each netted two. Joseph Dempsey, Gilberto Millan and Ian Roth each tallied one goal for the Knights
Saturday’s win over Behrend concluded the Collegiate Water Polo Association Division II Championship. In the championship Gannon won two of three games.
Hinkley said the Knights seem prepared for this weekend’s games and their excitement level matches their level of play.
“Our team is looking really solid, and we’re looking forward to the conference championship this weekend,” Hinkley said. “We have beaten every team that will be there at least once.”
More information on this weekend’s games can be found on the Gannon athletics’ website.