The Buckeyes made their second consecutive trip to the CWPA Club National Championship Tournament November 14-16, this time with theirs sights on making waves after a disappointing and eye-opening experience in 2013. Returning 5 out of 6 starters and leaning heavily on the Sophomore class, the Buckeyes won 3 out of 4 of their games, dropping their only match to the eventual 2014 National Champions, Lindenwood University.
Our first game of the tournament matched the Buckeyes against heavily favored three time National Champion, 5th ranked Michigan State University. Coming out slow, we closed out the first half with a 3-5 deficit, leaving MSU thinking they would run away with the game in the second half. But leaning on our defense lead by player of the game, Goalie Michael Smith, the Buckeyes held Sparty to only 1 goal in the final 2 frames of the match to take the victory 7-6.
Moving on to the quarterfinals of the much more difficult side of the championship bracket, we drew eventual 2014 National Champions, Lindenwood University. Right off the bat, OSU felt the pressure of the Lions defense, and collapsed under the weight of the stage. Going 3-13 on Man-Up opportunities is not going to ever allow you to get the W. Although battered and bruised, we left the pool with our heads held high after the 4-12 shellacking ready to win out in our 2nd ever trip to the tournament."
Game number 2 of Saturday had us matched up with #12, University of Colorado. Led by a team of all California players, Colorado looked past the Buckeyes which turned out to be a poor choice. Defensive centered and calm-headed Buckeye Water Polo was just too much for the Buffalos as we frustrated Colorado into making mistake after mistake which we were able to capitalize on taking the W 10-9 behind goals from Gustafson, Penley, and Muff."
The 5th place game was just as much a battle in the pool as it was in the stands. The Buckeye faithful shouting down the Longhorn fans from the opening to closing whistle. And just as the parents and fans in the stands, the Buckeyes in the water were simply too much for the Longhorns, taking 5th Place in the 2014 CWPA National Championship Tournament, 14-12.