With only two weeks of pre-season training under their belt, the Bruins traveled to the West Coast to compete in the Santa Barbara Invitational — coming home to Connecticut with a highly respectable fourth-place finish in the field of perennial water polo programs.
Led by captains William Ewald ’23, Ryan Miele ’23, Ryan Ohl ’24, and Vilas Sogaard-Srikrishnan ’23, the team had much to prove against some of the top schools in the nation — taking on No. 3-ranked Harvard-Westlake and No. 1-ranked JSerra Catholic High School in pre-tournament action.
While the Bruins dropped a tight contest with Harvard-Westlake — by a final score of 15-11 — they did claw within two goals by the end of the third quarter but simply couldn’t close the gap any further.
One day later, the Bruins refocused and set their eyes on JSerra — a squad sitting at the top of the charts in unofficial national rankings. The physical match-up came down to the wire, but stellar team defense led by Miele and Ewald — along with five goals from Ohl — paved the way to a 6-5 victory for the underdogs.
The Santa Barbara Invitational officially began on Friday, September 9. The Bruins took an early lead against Arroyo Grande, the first match of the tournament, which allowed every member of the varsity team some playing time. Final score — 14-9.
Next, the Bruins competed against Santa Margarita and racked up another win by a score of 15-9 — setting up a rematch with JSerra in the semi-final round. The Bruins started off slow but fought hard late into the second quarter and put themselves within striking distance. But JSerra's skilled play and physical toughness ultimately earned them a hard-fought 17-8 victory.
In the third-place game against Loyola High School, ’Wick took an early lead, but Loyola edged its way back into the game and held on for a three-goal win (12-9). Fatigue had caught up with the Bruins and left them just short of a medal finish.
After such a strong showing on the West Coast, the Bruins (ranked seventh nationally) are certainly poised for a successful season.