No nationals, but water polo team is now more cohesive

By Jack Wickham

As many mourn the close of the fall athletic season, they are flocking to see the final games and tournaments of varsity sports. Volleyball is looking to end its long losing streak tonight against Hamline, the football team is rearing to play the University of Minnesota Morris at the Metrodome today, and the cross country teams are seeking glory at the MIAC Championships tomorrow.For the water polo team, however, this season has ended. Entering the Heartland Division Championship at St. John’s University this weekend in Collegeville, Minn., the team played three other colleges, earning a fourth place finish in the tournament overall.

The third-seeded Scots had their first match against sixth seed St. Mary’s University. After a very well-played game on both teams’ part, the Scots prevailed with a final score of 8-6. The team next advanced to play the second ranked Grinnell in a long, hard-fought game that resulted in a 9-6 loss for the Scots.

“It was really close until the end,” said Max Kulicke ’11, the team’s goalie. “Once we lost to Grinnell, we had no chance to make it to Nationals.”

“We played one of our best games ever, but ended losing it in the fourth quarter,” Bobbi Gass ’10 said. “It was a tough loss, but we like Grinnell. We wish them well at Nationals.”

After the loss to Grinnell, the team played fourth seed St. John’s University, the hosting team, who had lost to first seed Monmouth University. In a match similar to the one against Grinnell, the Scots played fiercely, until St. John’s started to take the upper hand in the fourth quarter. The match ended in a Macalester loss of 10-9. However, the play and morale was of surprisingly good quality considering the loss of a chance to play at nationals.

“We really played as a team. [Our problem was that] we messed up by making errors here and there that added up over time” Gass said. “The most memorable part of that game was that our bench scored half of our goals”.

Also going to Nationals is top-ranked Monmouth University. Monmouth players provoked outrage in the Macalester community at an Oct. 4 tournament where Monmouth players made racial and homophobic remarks towards members of the Macalester team. The way it worked out, our Scots did not have the chance to play Monmouth during the most recent tournament, which was somewhat of a disappointment to the team.

“There was definitely an intense feeling on the entire team that we wanted to play them and beat them fair and square,” Gass said. “We were all rattled up, but there was no explicit hate. We just wanted to play them again.”

Though the tournament had a somewhat disappointing end, overall this was a successful season for the Scots. The mere fact that they went into the tournament with a third seed shows the extent of their achievement.

“As a team we’ve never been closer,” Gass said. “We’re determined to lift and swim to get in shape for next season. We have the ability to do really well, we just have to step it up.