Men's Water Polo hosted the Cal Maritime Tournament this past weekend and got the 2017 season started on a high note, going 3-1 over the weekend with their only loss to the defending champs, Cal Berkeley.
They began the season and tournament defeating UC Davis Team "B" 16-5 in their first match on Saturday morning, grabbing control and getting the reserves some early minutes.
In game two the Keelhaulers defeated UC Merced 12-5, and on Sunday afternoon defeated UC Davis "A" 9-8 in a riveting, back-and-forth affair.
The final match of the tournament pitted them against the big dogs of the Pacific Coast Division, the Cal Bears, who defeated Cal Martime 12-8. Maritime trailed 8-4 at the half, and the Bears did just enough to keep the Keelhaulers at arm's length the rest of the way.
The Bears made it a 9-4 lead with 4:20 to go in the third, just as the lights began to take effect at the P.E. and Aquatics Center for the evening affair. Maritime cut to it 9-5 on a goal by Michael Mackenbach with 1:26 to go in the third quarter. Cal Berkeley scored with 4:15 to go in the match to put Maritime down 12-5, and it felt as if the Bears grabbed ahold of the contest at that point.
Cal Maritime did outscore the Bears 3-2 in the final quarter with two tallies from Mana Robello and one from Reagan Hesse. Overall it was a good opening weekend for the Keelhaulers, and coached Bernie Rogers liked what he saw.
"We played well, it's our first weekend playing together, and we figured out who plays well with who," Rogers said. "We got some good games under our belt and it was a great test. It's a good improvement especially over last season, our freshman stepped up this weekend and we've got a good senior class"
It was important for the The Keelhaulers to get off to a fast start in their short season, putting them in good position in the standings moving forward.
"The first two weekends of play are for rankings for the final weekend," Rogers said. "We went 3-1. The only team to go 4-0 was Cal and they're the defending champs. We're sitting near the top of the group looking for a top 2 or 3 seeding on the 21st and 22nd."
Up next: The Keelhaulers will go take part in the UC Santa Cruz tournament October 7-8 in Santa Cruz. They'll take on Chico State at 11:10 a.m. and San Jose State at 2:25 p.m. during day one. One the second day they'll play the host UC Santa Cruz at 12:15 p.m. and then take on Stanford at 4:35 p.m. to wrap up the weekend.