Brunswick claims 5th-straight New England water polo title
One by one, the Brunswick School water polo team reached each goal it set out to achieve this season and Saturday, it accomplished its final mission.
And the Bruins did so in dominant fashion.
Brunswick captured its fifth straight New England championship, registering a 20-5 victory over Loomis Chaffee School in the title game of the Liquid Four Tournament at Phillips Exeter Academy.
The win put the finishing touch on an impressive 24-2 season for the Bruins, who once again, proved they were the elite squad in the region.
“All of our teams that have won this title were strong and this team was one of the best,” Brunswick coach Ulmis Iordache said. “They bonded very well together and showed a lot of creativity. There were some goals that were scored during key moments of games that required more than what we did in practice. They did something special, putting their own personal touch on a certain play.”
Senior tri-captain Nico Apostolides was named the tournament’s MVP, while senior tri-captain Keegan Drew, junior Kyle Yelensky and sophomore Hayden Collins each earned All-Tournament team honors. Drew was an All-Tournament team selection last season, while Apostolides was chosen in 2016.
In Brunswick’s decisive win against Loomis Chaffee School in the championship game of the Liquid Four Tournament, sophomore Gavin Molloy recorded three goals, while Apostolides, Yelensky, junior Jake Charney, sophomore Danny Taylor, Drew and Tate Robinson each tallied twice for the Bruins.
JP Ohl, Ivey Gehring, Will Prout, Robert Jacobson and Timmy Saunders added one goal apiece for the victors. The fifth-seeded Bruins held a 5-1 lead on third-seeded Loomis Chaffee after the first quarter and entered halftime with a 12-2 advantage.
The opening half saw Apostolides, Yelensky, Drew and Molloy each score twice for Brunswick, which lost to Loomis (17-14) during the regular season.
“We knew Loomis very well, since we played them before,” Iordache said. “Loomis gave us one of our two losses of the season, though we didn’t have a full squad the last time we played them. But we learned some things from when we played them the first time and our team was very confident in the final.”
Collins made seven saves in goal and teammate Aidan Marks stopped one shot in the title match. Brunswick advanced to the New England finals by beating top-seeded Phillips Andover Academy, 19-9, in the semifinal-round.
Apostolides scored a team-high six goals, while Drew tallied five times to power the Bruins. Yelensky had four goals, while Molloy, Gavin West, Dillon Robinson and Saunders each added single goals. Collins registered 10 saves in the winning effort.
“Our team was very disciplined and played great defense throughout the tournament,” Iordache said.
Fittingly, the Bruins capped their season by meeting their final goal of claiming the New England title. Winning the ultra-competitive Beast of the East Tournament in Reading, Pa., was one of the first goals they met, going 5-0 at the event in September.
Last month, Brunswick won the Cardinal Tournament held at Greenwich High School for the first time. The tournament saw them come back to beat Greenwich in the title matchup, 11-7. In September, Brunswick traveled to California to compete in the Coronado Invitational. The Bruins posted a record of 4-1 at the tourney in California.
“We set some goals at the beginning of the season,” Iordache said. “We wanted to do well in our games at California and win the Cardinal Tournament, The Beast of the East and the New England Tournament and we accomplished our goals. Our seniors and senior captains showed a lot of maturity, stepped up and led the team to victory. We have a bunch of young players coming back next season and I can’t wait to see where they can take the program.”