PRINCETON, N.J. – The No. 20 Navy water polo team (4-2) picked up a pair of victories against Santa Clara (W, 9-8 in overtime) and Iona (W, 13-11) to sweep day one of the competitions at the Princeton Invitational. Senior team captain Jake Altmayer (Pasadena, Calif.) paced the offensive attack with six goals on the day, including four against the Gaels.

Credit: Navy Athletics

“We did not play as well as I would’ve liked today, but the team was able to find a way to get it done,” head coach Luis Nicolao said. “You are not going to be perfect every time you get in the pool, but if you continue to work hard and battle, you can still be successful. That was us today. We didn’t play our best games, but we never gave up and continued to fight. Ultimately, we were able to come away with a pair of wins. I am extremely proud of this team for the way they continued to battle today.”

Offensively, Navy recorded 22 goals on the day, led by Altmayer’s six scores. Tommy McKnew (Tiburon, Calif.) and Ivan Pang (El Monte, Calif.) finished with three goals apiece, while Will Clark (Laguna Beach, Calif.), Michael Heller (Menlo Park, Calif.) and Hayden Kahn (San Clemente, Calif.) chipped in two each. In addition, Pang led the squad with three assists, while Heller added a pair of helpers.

Between the pipes, Caden Capobianco (Laguna Beach, Calif.) worked a pair of complete games en route to the two wins. The junior finished with 17 saves on the day, including 11 stops against Santa Clara. In addition, Capobianco led the Midshipmen with six steals, including five against Iona. Payton Comstock (Clarendon Hills, Ill.) and Kahn picked off a pair of balls each against Santa Clara.

Navy concludes play in the 2022 Princeton Invitational on Sunday morning as the Midshipmen take on No. 18 St. Francis Brooklyn at 9:15 a.m.

Game 1 Recap: #20 Navy 9, Santa Clara 8 (overtime)

The Midshipmen opened the day with a come-from-behind victory in overtime against Santa Clara.

The Mids fell behind 5-0 before Pang found the back of the net late in the second quarter to trim the margin to four heading into halftime. Coming out of the break, Travis Berzins (Rancho Cucamonga, Calif.) cut the Broncos’ lead to three, 5-2, but Santa Clara responded to send the game into the final quarter of play with Navy trailing 6-2.

In the fourth quarter, Danny Taylor (Riverside, Conn.) and Heller cut the deficit to two, 6-4. Altmayer and Clark closed the gap to one with back-to-back scores following a Santa Clara goal. McKnew knotted the game at 7-7 with his first goal of the day.

In overtime, Altmayer gave Navy its first game lead, but the Broncos answered, converting a five-meter attempt. With time ticking down, Altmayer passed the ball to Clark, who finished with a back-hand goal for the win as time expired.

Game 2 Recap: #20 Navy 13, Iona 11

In the second game of the doubleheader, the Midshipmen edged Iona, 13-11.

Kyle Yelensky (Stamford, Conn.) began the scoring with a dunk at the post to put Navy in front 1-0. Iona knotted the score at 1-1, but Pang responded with a man-up goal to give the Mids’ the lead again. Following a pair of scores by Iona, McKnew evened the game at 3-3. The Gaels took a 4-3 lead into the first break.

Altmayer scored two of the next three goals in the game, leaving the score at 5-5. Iona regained the lead with a goal, but Pang and Kahn netted back-to-back goals to give Navy a 7-6 advantage at the half.

Iona tied the score to start the third quarter, but Heller, McKnew, and Altmayer answered to give Navy a three-goal edge. The Gaels trimmed the margin to two, but Altmayer and Nathan Duchez (San Jose, Calif.) found paydirt and gave the Midshipmen their largest lead of the day, 12-8.

The Gaels cut the Mids’ lead to one in the fourth quarter with three straight goals, 12-11, but a goal by Kahn gave Navy a two-goal cushion that it would not relinquish, giving the Midshipmen a 13-11 victory.


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