HOPKINSSPORTS.COM Giorgio Cico scored five goals and had eight assists throughout the weekend.
The Hopkins water polo team traveled to Lewisburg, Pa. last weekend to compete in the Bucknell Invitational. At the tournament, the Blue Jays defeated the Gannon University Golden Knights 16-12 and followed with a 13-6 victory over the University of Toronto Varsity Blues.
Throughout the course of the two games, three Jays — junior co-captain Josh Kurtz, sophomore attacker Finn Banks and junior attacker
Andreas Katsis — all impressively tallied hat tricks.
“As far as the games went, we started off pretty slow in each, but then we wore teams down and pulled away in the second half,” junior co-captain Giorgio Cico said.
In their first game against Gannon, Hopkins battled back from behind seven times just in the first half. At the end of the half, Gannon led 7-6. Coming out after halftime, however, the Jays ignited their competitive fire.
Although Gannon scored the first goal of the second half, the Jays responded quickly with Banks scoring two goals. Kurtz followed with another goal to tie up the score. Katsis then asserted himself for another Blue Jay goal, putting the Jays in the lead for the first time in the game.
Still, the Hopkins offense did not let up. With only about a minute remaining in the third quarter, freshman driver Olin Shipstead tallied a goal for the Jays. At this point, Gannon had only 26 seconds remaining in the quarter to try and cut the deficit but failed to do so.
Just 32 seconds into the fourth quarter, Gannon scored, but Hopkins was unfazed.
The Jays answered with four straight goals in the span of just four minutes, sealing the victory at 15-10.
The Jays quickly refocused their energy as they headed into their second match of the tournament against Toronto. Building on their momentum, the Blue Jays came out strong against the Varsity Blues, starting the game with a 3-0 lead.
In fact, the Varsity Blues did not find themselves on the board until the second quarter of play, trailing the Jays 3-1.
Then, the Blue Jays’ freshman attacker John Murphy and Kurtz responded with back-to-back goals. Toronto made the last goal of the half, but Hopkins still lead 5-2.
Coming into the third quarter, senior utility player Jono Gillette, Katsis and Banks all scored in the span of 85 seconds. Despite the strong second-half start, Toronto answered with their own three-goal run, putting their deficit back at three.
The Blue Jays would outscore Toronto 5-1 in the last quarter to secure the victory at 13-6.
Hopkins continues their impressive winning streak against both opponents, not having lost a game to either Gannon or Toronto in program history.
After the two wins on Saturday, head coach Ted Bresnahan has tallied a total 396 career wins with the Blue Jays, inching ever-so closer to that 400-mark.
“We will be a very competitive team throughout the season, especially considering we brought in six freshmen. Last year, we were a really young team, so hopefully that experience translates to a better record,” Cico said.
Coming out of a successful preseason, the Jays have used this momentum to have a strong start to their season.
“Our preseason this year was really focused, which really set the tone for the season,” Cico said. “Plus, having some early season games that are significantly easier than our early season games last year means that we’ve been able to gain some momentum and confidence, which should translate to playing better once we start Conference games this weekend.”
Cico also attributed their initial success to having Gillette back competing with the team this season.
“A big difference from last year is getting Jono Gillette back. He is one of the best offensive players on the east coast and has been a big reason we have started so strongly,” Cico explained.
The Blue Jays have high aspirations as they plan to maintain their positive-trending progress, especially heading into Conference play.
“Our goals for this year are to be in the Conference Championship game at the end of the year, because then we are two games away from the Final Four,” Cico said.
The Blue Jays face off against Fordham University on Saturday, Sept. 23 at 10 a.m. for their first home match of the season.