The Gannon University men’s water polo team was plagued again by their inability to close out tight games in their 12-11 loss to Notre Dame College in South Euclid, Ohio on Saturday.
After its second loss to Notre Dame in the past two weeks, the team’s season record dropped to a disappointing 1-6 as the Falcons of Notre Dame swept all three of their matches on Friday and Saturday.
This was the Knights’ second straight loss by a one point margin. They dropped a tough loss to Washington & Jefferson University a week earlier on Sept. 11 by a score of 11-10.
Neither team opened up a lead of greater than three goals until the fourth quarter. Gannon was leading Notre Dame by a score of 9-7 heading into that final quarter of the match. Two quick goals by redshirt sophomore Daisuke Takagi and freshman Nathan Bean put the Knights up 11-7 and should have cemented the victory.
However, the Knights failed to hold on to the momentum as Notre Dame went on to score five unanswered goals in the final six minutes, with the heartbreaking game winner coming just 20 seconds before time expired.
Takagi was Gannon’s leading scorer with one goal in each quarter for a total of four. Takagi is the team’s leading scorer through seven matches.
Also netting goals for the Knights were Bean with three and redshirt sophomore Tommy Nimrod with two. Junior goalkeeper Neal Zoellick led the team’s defense with six blocks and two steals.
Nimrod said he attributes some aspects of Gannon’s recent slump to inexperience, but said that he is confident the team will be able to turn things around in its upcoming matches.
“We’re a young team and experience is a pretty big factor,” he said. “This weekend we learned a couple things that will really help us through the remainder of the season and hopefully we can improve our season record.”
The Knights will look to do just that and avenge their loss to Washington & Jefferson as they hit the road Friday for their 7:30 p.m. match.
Washington & Jefferson carries a 2-4 record into the contest.