This past weekend, the University Center Swimming Pool swarmed with Canes, Gators, Seminoles, Panthers and Knights at the first men’s Collegiate Water Polo Associate (CWPA) tournament of the season, hosted by the University of Miami club water polo team.
Club President Anthony Kanelidis expressed high hopes for his squad this season stating, “This is the first year [we] have a shot at winning and want to take gold.”
Kanelidis’ prediction wasn’t too far off as the club won three out of its four games in the two-day tournament, solidifying second place behind last year’s champions, Florida International University.
Always a tough team to beat, UM fell short to FIU in the championship game by one goal for an 11-10 final score.
Second place and victories over University of Florida A-Team (11-6), University of Central Florida (12-11) and Florida State University (12-7) provide evidence of a huge turnaround for the Canes, who were 1-3 in this tournament last year.
Kanelidis, a sophomore, said they are “much more serious this year and the influx of experienced new players will help them go far.”
One standout new member is junior goalie Alan Groll. Blocking everything from lobs to skip shots, Groll saved over 70 percent of the shots on goal over the weekend. Onlookers commented that he was by far the best goalie at the tournament.
But, it is not just a one-man show.
The club’s success is mainly due to the cohesion the team exudes in and out of the water.
The players communicate well, play patiently on 6-on-5, and most importantly, aren’t afraid to shoot the ball.
Although the whole-set is the primary “go-to” shooter, it seemed as if almost everyone in the water converted a goal at the tournament.
With more tournaments approaching soon in October, the Canes practice four days a week (Monday-Thursday) from 6:30-8:30 p.m. at the University Center Swimming Pool under second-year coach Jimena Lopez.
The water polo club is co-ed, consisting of over 45 undergrad and graduate students.
The men compete during the fall semester whereas the women play in tournaments in the spring semester.
Next up for the water polo Canes is the Oct. 2 CWPA tournament hosted by Florida State University. Then, it’s off to regionals at the University of Florida on Oct. 23.
Claire Miller may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.