By Christopher Wuensch
Arizona Daily Wildcat
Tuesday October 29, 2002
The Arizona men's water polo squad capped off a successful weekend by triumphing in the Southwest Conference Tournament Sunday afternoon.
In doing so the No. 8 Wildcats captured the conference title with an unblemished 12-0 record.
Team captain Brian Snell turned in a three-goal effort and senior Kris Souther powered the Wildcats past the University of Colorado, 11-5 in the championship match.
Relying on key turnovers and stellar saves from goalkeeper Chris Thomas, Arizona was able to fend off Colorado in an overly physical game. The Buffalos' top scorer, Jarod Stentiford of Johannesburg, South Africa, was held to zero goals and was ejected in the second quarter for three personal fouls.
"This was such a physical game, the refs were really lenient with both teams," said head coach/player Sean Devlin. "We shut them down on their drive and after that they couldn't do anything. Our defense once again came up huge."
Freshman Jeff Dunnam and sophomore Mike McErlean added two
goals and Anthony DeLorenzo notched one to the delight the large Family Weekend crowd.
"It was tough but we got the job done," said DeLorenzo. "This was a stepping stone; we still have four more games in nationals."
During the morning match, Arizona fended off the University of Utah and a spell of inclement weather to win 19-6. Snell led the Wildcats with four goals and was aided by three each from DeLorenzo and Souther.
Saturday saw the Wildcats swim to victories over Colorado State 22-3 and Utah State 18-6. DeLorenzo notched five goals in the win over Utah State.
Also, in his third year as a player and first as a coach with the team, Devlin was named Southwest Conference Coach of the Year. DeLorenzo led all tournament scorers with 13 goals.
Arizona now advances to the National Tournament held in Cal-Poly San Luis Obispo, Nov. 8-10. The Wildcats will be ranked eighth in the 16-team tournament, playing their first game against No. 9 University of Miami-Ohio.