No. 16 Men’s Water Polo Defeats No. 13 Harvard, MIT to Close NWPC Play

No. 16 Men’s Water Polo Defeats No. 13 Harvard, MIT to Close NWPC Play

PROVIDENCE, R.I. – No. 16 Brown University men's water polo defeated No. 13 Harvard University, 13-11, and topped MIT, 13-10, in a pair of Northeast Water Polo Conference games at the Katherine Moran Coleman Aquatics Center on Saturday.

On the last day of NWPC regular season play, the Bears (18-11, 5-5 NWPC) used a 4-0 run spanning the second and third quarters to gain separation from the Crimson (20-7, 7-3 NWPC) in game one before breaking a late tie with three straight goals in the fourth quarter against the Engineers (9-17, 2-8 NWPC) – the No. 3 ranked team in Division III – in game two.

With NWPC regular season action completed, Brown has earned the No. 4 seed in the NWPC Championship and will play No. 5 seed MIT on Friday, Nov. 17 at 8:00 p.m. at Harvard's Blodgett Pool in Cambridge, Mass.

Between the two games, seniors Tyler Kirchberg (Orinda, Calif.) and Rico Burke (San Mateo, Calif.) each scored seven goals with Burke netting six goals against the Engineers alone. Freshman goalkeeper Riad Hallal (Coronado, Calif.) totaled 21 saves on the day.

Prior to the game against MIT, Brown honored the four members of its Class of 2018 – Rico Burke (San Mateo, Calif.), Tommy Bush (Lafayette, Calif.), Austin Hwang (Laguna Hills, Calif.), and Tyler Kirchberg (Orinda, Calif.) – for their hard work and dedication to the program over the last four years.

Over the course of the day, the Bears also recognized the 1977 Brown men's water polo team in honor of the 40th anniversary of its becoming the first Brown team to reach the NCAA Championship.

Next, Brown concludes the regular season when it hosts Conn. College on Wednesday at 7:30 p.m. prior to playing in the NWPC Championship at Harvard from Nov. 17-19.

Game 1 – No. 16 Brown 13, No. 13 Harvard 11

Senior Tyler Kirchberg netted four goals, and senior Tommy Bush totaled five points to lead No. 16 Brown past No. 13 Harvard, 13-11, on Saturday afternoon.

The Bears used a 4-0 run to gain a 10-6 lead in the third quarter and pushed their advantage back to four goals at 13-9 in the fourth quarter en route to the win over the visiting Crimson.

Kirchberg (Orinda, Calif.) added three field blocks and an assist to his four goals while Bush (Lafayette, Calif.) tallied two goals and three assists. Sophomore Armen Deirmenjian (Beverly Hills, Calif.) registered two goals with an assist.

Senior Austin Hwang (Laguna Hills, Calif.) notched a goal and an assist, sophomore Hudson Rawlings (Murrieta, Calif.) chipped in a goal and two field blocks, and junior Santiago Nunez (Miami, Fla.) supplied two assists and two steals. Senior Rico Burke (San Mateo, Calif.), junior Travis Bouscaren (Cambridge, Mass.), and freshman Aidan Reilly (Los Angeles, Calif.) each tacked on a single goal.

In the cage, freshman net-minder Riad Hallal (Coronado, Calif.) turned aside 10 shots.

Burke netted the game's first goal with a one-timed shot before Harvard took a 2-1 lead. Deirmenjian and Kirchberg answered with back-to-back goals as Brown pulled ahead 3-2 with 47 seconds left in the first quarter. The two teams stood tied at 3-3 at the end of the period.

Deirmenjian started the second stanza's scoring before Rawlings converted a no-look, backhanded shot to give Brown a 5-3 lead at the 6:25 mark of the period. Despite a goal from Hwang, the Crimson used a 3-1 run to knot the score at 6-6 with 2:05 left in the half. A goal from Reilly with 29 seconds to go in the quarter pushed Brown ahead 7-6 at the break.

The Bears completed a 4-0 run with the third quarter's first three goals, gaining a 10-6 advantage with 4:37 to play in the period. Kirchberg netted the half's first two goals, including one on a 5-meter penalty shot, before Bouscaren closed the run. The Crimson cut the margin to 10-8, but consecutive goals from Bush and Kirchberg kept the hosts up 12-8 with 1:34 to play in the frame. Brown still led 12-9 heading to the fourth quarter.

A goal from Bush put Brown up 13-9 with 5:19 to play, and the Bears allowed just two goals the rest of the way.

Brown and Harvard split the regular season series as the Bears fell to the Crimson, 11-10, in overtime on Oct. 7 in Cambridge, Mass. 

Brown 13, Harvard 11
Brown....................... 3…4…5…1…13
Harvard..................... 3…3…3…2…11
Brown Goals: Kirchberg 4, Bush 2, Deirmenjian 2, Bouscaren, Burke, Hwang, Rawlings, Reilly.
Brown Saves: Hallal 10.

Game 2 – No. 16 Brown 13, MIT 10

Senior Rico Burke scored a career-high six goals to propel No. 16 Brown to a 13-10 win over MIT in the Bears' senior recognition game on Saturday night.

With the Bears and Engineers – the No. 3 ranked team in Division III – tied at 9-9 with less than four minutes to play, Burke (San Mateo, Calif.) scored three goals as Brown closed the game on a 4-1 run.

Alongside his six goals, Burke made six steals and drew three ejections while senior Tyler Kirchberg (Orinda, Calif.) accounted for three goals and two assists. Senior Tommy Bush (Lafayette, Calif.) compiled a goal and five steals, and junior Spencer Carroll (Newport Beach, Calif.) totaled three assists and three steals.

Sophomore Armen Deirmenjian (Beverly Hills, Calif.) netted two goals, junior Travis Bouscaren (Cambridge, Mass.) chipped in a goal, and freshmen Aidan Reilly (Los Angeles, Calif.) and Adam Fuller (Santa Barbara, Calif.) each dished out two assists.

Between the pipes, freshman goalie Riad Hallal (Coronado, Calif.) blocked 11 shots.

Brown opened the game with a 3-0 lead behind two goals from Burke and a marker from Deirmenjian. A goal from Kirchberg helped keep the Bears ahead 4-2 at the end of the first quarter.

The two teams traded tallies in the second quarter with goals from Kirchberg, Bouscaren, and Deirmenjian giving the hosts a 7-5 advantage at the intermission.

MIT outscored the Bears 2-1 in the third quarter as a goal from Kirchberg with four seconds to play in the stanza pushing Brown ahead 8-7 going to the fourth quarter.

A pair of Engineer markers on either side of a goal from Burke knotted the score at 9-9 with 3:42 to play. The Bears then used two more goals from Burke and a tally from Bush to push themselves ahead 12-9 at the 1:17 mark. MIT cut the margin to 12-10 with 1:08 left, but Burke's sixth marker with 37 seconds remaining sealed the win.

Brown swept the regular season series with MIT as the Bears beat the Engineers 11-10 in Cambridge Mass., on Oct. 7. 

Brown 13, MIT 10
Brown....................... 4…3…1…5…13
MIT............................. 2…3…2…3…10
Brown Goals: Burke 6, Kirchberg 3, Deirmenjian 2, Bouscaren, Bush.
Brown Saves: Hallal 11.