2013 Men’s Water Polo Season Preview
The 2012 season rushed in a new direction for the Washington & Jefferson College men’s water polo team. Under the leadership of Jay O’Neil for the the first time, the Presidents earned their most victories (9) since 2009.
The squad hopes to inch closer to the program’s first Collegiate Water Polo Association Division III Eastern Championship this fall. W&J played its way to a fourth-place finish last year and with a group of 17 returners mixed with seven newcomers, the Presidents are poised for a run at the title.
With a fairly young squad, O’Neil will rely on his three seniors Dan Francisco, Brendan Lesniak and Nick Thorneloe to provide the necessary leadership.
Mike Magdic is back for his junior campaign after leading the team with 71 goals. He earned selections to the Capital One CoSIDA Academic All-District At-Large squad, the ACWPC D-III Men’s All-America team and was a member of the D-III Eastern first team all-tournament squad. A player who has steadily created scoring opportunities during his first two seasons, Magdic is two goals shy of 100 for his career.
The Presidents will have plenty of offensive punch around Magdic with three of the top-five scorers returning. Sophomore Kevin Dunigan made a splash in his rookie season, ranking second on the team in goals (44) and setting a school record with 86 drawn ejections. Fellow classmate Ben McGrath finished among the top five in goals (25) and assists (11).
Another big part of the offense, junior Carl Krause, also returns to the pool. Krause produced a number of scoring opportunities for W&J last season, notching 31 goals and a team-best 26 assists.
The goalkeeping duties should once again be split by Francisco and junior Chris DeNunzio. Francisco logged the higher amount of minutes, but O’Neil established a system that worked last season, sharing time between these two talented net minders. Francisco totaled 159 saves, while DeNunzio produced 93.
The men’s water polo team opens the regular season at the Brown Invitational Sept. 7 with a match against MIT.