Greenwich High water polo defends Beast of the East championship

The Greenwich High School boys water polo team has made a habit out of dominating the Beast of the East Tournament.

This year was no exception, as the Cardinals defended their title and once again won the tournament, held in Eastern Pennsylvania, beating Loyola Blakefield School of Towson, 12-7 on Saturday.

It took a while for Greenwich to pull away from from the Maryland team, but its relentless defense, led by Ben Wurst and Mack Neary with eight and six steals, respectively, eventually made the difference.

Tied 4-4 midway through the second quarter, goals by Tyler Triscari and Julian Fraser gave the Cards a 6-4 halftime lead. Goals by Fraser and Jack Kerwin maintained the two-goal differential, 8-6, as the teams moved into the final quarter.

Three consecutive Big Red goals all but sealed the victory. Wurst scored on a man-up, followed by scores from Triscari and Jack Robinson. Triscari led all scorers with four goals, followed by Ed Moss and Fraser with two each. Nick Hyden, Robinson, Kerwin and Wurst scored the other goals of the game.

Sharing goaltending duties, Steve Michaud had two first half saves and Alex Jahns added three in the second.

Playing two preliminary games at Pottsville High School on Friday, the Cardinal defense allowed only one goal to the host team, while shutting out The Lawrenceville School of New Jersey.

Moving over to Governor Mifflin High School in Shillington, Penn., the Big Red water polo team nearly saw its hopes of a successful title defense slip away. After shutting out the Cards and taking a 4-0 first period lead, Penn Charter scored the first goal of the second quarter to take a commanding 5-0 lead.

Holding its poise, the Greenwich defense stiffened and the misfiring Greenwich offense finally started to hit the target, responding with six consecutive goals to end the half up one, 6-5. Triscari got the offense going with two goals, followed by a pair of goals by Ed Moss, one from Hyden and a penalty shot by Fraser.

Penn Charter opened the third with a game-tying goal before Greenwich responded with a streak of five goals. Robinson led the way with two goals and Wurst and Neary each added one. Leading 11-7, the teams traded goals for the remainder of the game, as the Cards breathed a sigh of relief with the 13-9 victory catapulting them into the semi-final game.

In the semis, Cumberland Valley High School from Mechanicsburg, Penn. didn’t present the same challenge as Penn Charter. Greenwich sprinted out to a quick 8-0 first period lead en route to a 20-6 victory to earn the berth in the championship game.

Four Greenwich High School water polo athletes were named to the First All-Tournament Team. The team’s two offensive leaders, Triscari and Fraser, as well as defense standouts Neary and Wurst. Triscari finished the tourney with 23 goals, while Fraser added 20.

“In the dramatic Penn Charter win and in the championship game, seven players contributed goals and our team defense was awesome anchored by goalies Michaud and Jahns,” Lowe said. “I was especially impressed how the team kept its cool in the Penn Charter game. Despite being down five goals, the boys remained unfazed and took control by stepping up their defense and shutting out Penn for the remainder of the half and nailing six unanswered goals.”

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