NYAC Takes US Titles
From July 19th through July 21st, the NYAC women¹s water polo team
competed in the US Open National Championships held in Atherton, CA. The
women¹s championship included 12 of the best teams in the United States
ranging from Stanford University, UCLA Bruin Water Polo, Olympic Club and
SOCAL Club. As the reigning champions, the NYAC team had high expectations
going into the start of the tournament.
Led by 2012 Olympic gold medalist Heather Petri, the NYAC pulled out a
tough first win against Santa Barbara, 9-8. The second game, against
Diablo, however, saw the NYAC women get into an offensive groove. Former
US team members Tanya Gandy, Juliet Moss and Erika Figge delivered
numerous defensive steals and counter-attacks that left Diablo scrambling
for most of the game. The NYAC eventually closed out the match with a 20-2
The second day of competition proved to be much of the same, with quick
wins against Olympic Club, 9-4 and SOCAL Gold, 11-7. Captain Kelly Eaton
and USC¹s Coleen O¹Donnell worked offensive drives and kick-outs to
provide the NYAC women with multiple man-up possessions.
With a perfect record thus far, the winged foot women needed one more win
on Sunday morning to book their ticket in the final for the third
consecutive year. Against SOCAL Black, Olympic silver medalist Coralie
Simmons¹ wily defense paralyzed Black¹s two-meter offensive plays, which
led to an easy four goal advantage by the end of fourth quarter.
The championship game pitted UCLA¹s Bruin water polo club against the
NYAC. It was NYAC goalie, Cassie Wyckoff, who clinched the gold with
spectacular saves from shots taken from set and perimeter positions.
Winning 10-8, Wyckoff was voted tournament MVP, while Eaton and O¹Donnell
earned All-Tournament recognition.
Not to be outdone by the women, the NYAC men also sent two teams to
compete in the US Open over the same July weekend in Atherton, CA.
Anchoring the NYAC A squad were 2012 Olympians Chay Lapin and Jesse Smith
in goal and two-meter defense, respectively. The tournament began with a
demolition of UC Davis 24-3. The second game was against CORE B. Former
national team member Jeff Tyrell and three-time Olympian Wolf Wigo were
relentless with their set and driving shots. By the end of the fourth
quarter, the men had won by a 13 goal margin.
On the second day of competition, 2012 Romanian Olympians Cosmin Radu and
Andrei Iosep delivered crushing offensive performances with lightening
quick back-handed goals to lead the team to a 17-4 win against Newport
Water Polo B team. The outcome of the final game of the day, versus UCLA
Bruin Water Polo, would take the top seed of the round robin bracket. NYAC
attackers, Richie Hyden and Filip Sasic, hammered away big goals from the
very first quarter to solidify a 16-5 win.
Also clinching the first seed in their bracket was perennial rival Olympic
Club which would make for a memorable semi-final. New NYAC member, Josh
Samuels, and recent Mediterranean Games competitor, Sasha Sadoryy,
provided quick counter-attacks for the winged foot men; however, Olympic
Club¹s Peter Varellas, another 2012 US Olympian, proved to be difficult at
the two-meter position and challenged our offense throughout the match.
Ending in a 9-9 tie, the team earned a place in the final based on goal
differential tallied throughout the tournament.
The championship game against Stanford was anticipated to be the best of
the tournament and it certainly did not disappoint. Going shot for shot
in the first two quarters, NYAC¹s Radu equaled Stanford¹s Forrest Watkins
at three goals apiece. Tied at the half, Stanford and the NYAC battled
hard for possession for the first four minutes of the third quarter.
Needing a serious momentum boost, Wolf Wigo netted a strong-side post shot
that put the NYAC ahead for good. Goalie Chay Lapin proved to be
impenetrable and blocked all of Stanford's goal attempts in the waning
minutes of the fourth quarter. At the final buzzer, the scoreboard read
NYAC 11 to Stanford¹s 10. Radu picked up MVP honors and Lapin and Wigo
received All-Tournament nods.
This marks the seventh time in the last nine years that NYAC coaches Jeff
Hilk and Scott Schulte have struck gold at the USAWP National
Championships, an unprecedented run in NYAC water polo history.
- Kendall Dacey