Dominating weekend leads to Division II title


Timothy Corso, Staff Writer

The Gannon University men’s water polo team competed at the CWPA Division II Championships Saturday and Sunday at Cathedral Prep’s Hallman Aquatics Center and brought home the team’s fourth consecutive championship.

The Knights opened tournament play with a 13-11 victory over McKendree in what would prove to be their toughest test of the weekend, then closed out Saturday’s action with a 14-9 win over rival Mercyhurst. Gannon wrapped up the championship by defeating Salem, 14-9, Sunday.

After falling behind early in Saturday’s opener against McKendree, the Knights pulled even on senior Robert Bolmanski’s goal.

Gannon and McKendree went back and forth, trading goals in the first quarter. The game was tied at three after the first period.

Not a minute into the second period, Bolmanski struck again for his second goal, putting the Knights up 4-3. Bolmanski’s goal was assisted by redshirt senior Tony Squeglia.

Bolmanski’s goal was the start of a 6-0 run for Gannon. By the 2:13 mark in the second, the Knights had what appeared to be a commanding 9-3 lead.

Both teams netted a pair of goals before the half’s close, making it 11-5 Gannon at the break.

McKendree opened the second half with a pair of goals to cut the Knights’ lead to 11-7.

Gannon answered back when Squeglia scored a goal that was set up by Bolmanski.

The halftime adjustments would prove rewarding for both teams as they allowed just four combined goals in the third period.

Heading into the fourth period, the Knights held a 12-8 lead, but the Bearcats wouldn’t go away.

After a goal by each team early in the period, McKendree scored two straight goals, cutting the lead to 13-11.

Gannon stood tall and wouldn’t allow anything else to secure its first tournament win.

Bolmanski led Gannon in scoring with five goals, while three other Knights added a pair of goals.

Gannon’s second game of the weekend would be one of significance, as the team took on rival Mercyhurst for the right to advance to the championship game.

It took over 3½ minutes, but the Knights used a power play to their advantage to take an early 1-0 lead courtesy of a Squeglia goal.

The Knights poured it on throughout the remainder of the period and at the end held a 5-1 advantage.

Each team scored three goals in both the second and third periods as Gannon held a firm 11-7 lead heading into the final frame.

The Knights wasted no time putting the game away.

Two minutes into the fourth, senior Drago Marjanovic assisted redshirt senior Ethan Hamp to put Gannon up 12-7.

Hamp would find the back of the net once more for his third goal of the game to seal the deal for the Knights.

Squeglia led Gannon in scoring with four goals, while Hamp and Marjanovic each had three goals for the Knights.

In Sunday’s championship win over Salem, Bolmanski put Gannon on the board 19 seconds into the game. Squeglia was credited with the assist.

From that point on, the Knights held a slight edge at the end of the period 4-2.

Gannon opened the second period on fire as sophomore Dylan Schmitzerle scored two straight goals giving the Knights a 6-2 advantage.

Gannon held onto the lead heading into the break, 7-4.

Salem wouldn’t go away easily and fought back, cutting the Knights’ lead to two goals multiple times throughout the third period.

The Knights held a slim 10-8 lead heading into the fourth period.

Gannon would squash any hope Salem had, courtesy of two Marjanovic goals to open the fourth, making it 12-8.

Great defense paid dividends down the stretch as the Knights put together a convincing victory to capture their fourth straight CWPA Division II Championship.

Bolmanski and Marjanovic led Gannon in scoring with three goals each.

The Knights return to action Friday in a 6 p.m. matchup at Penn State Behrend and then will head to Morgantown, W. Va., Nov. 6-7 for the Mid-Atlantic Western Region Championship.


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