The St. Francis College, Brooklyn Heights, men’s water polo team has earned a trip to the NCAA Final Four by winning the College Water Polo Association’s Eastern Championship.
The Terriers defeated Bucknell University, Lewisburg, Pa., 10-9 in double overtime on a game-winning goal by senior attacker and Belgrade, Serbia, native Marko Gencic.
“We managed to come back because deep inside we trust in ourselves, and we knew we were going to come back the whole time without a doubt,” said Guram Nozadze, a senior driver from Stockholm, Sweden. “To be a senior and finish a career like this, it couldn’t be better.”
“Bucknell is a really good team,” said Head Coach Igor Samardzija. “It was just a matter of us staying patient and work the ball around and finding the gaps.” St. Francis (16-8) defeated the U.S. Naval Academy, Annapolis, Md., 14-10 in the quarterfinals before earning a 12-11 victory in the semifinals over Mercyhurst University, Erie, Pa.
Over the course of three games, Gencic scored 15 goals, including seven against Mercyhurst, which earned him the honor of tournament MVP.
The Eastern Championship victory marks the second time in three seasons that the Terriers claimed a spot in the Final Four, which will begin Dec. 1 at the University of Southern California, Los Angeles.
“It’s our second time there,” said junior center Marko Dzigurski. “And it feels amazing.”