If the Brunswick School and Greenwich High School water polo teams are competing in the same tournament, they will very likely meet each other in the championship game.
The Cardinals and Bruins faced each other in the title game of the Beast of the East Tournament in Pennsylvania in late September and tonight, before a packed house at Greenwich High, there they were playing for the Cardinal Tournament title.
Brunswick won the Beast of the East title by defeating Greenwich and tonight, it won its third straight Cardinal Tournament championship, posting a decisive 14-6 victory over their neighborhood water polo rival in front of an enthusiastic crowd.
“I’m very proud how they showed up,” said Brunswick coach Ulmis Iordache, whose team has a record of 17-2. “They paced themselves very well, the last game they showed a lot of energy. This is always a tough place to play. Greenwich High provides tough competition. I’m very happy for the senior players and underclassmen who also played well. We also won the Beast of the East this year, which was good.”
JP Ohl scored a game-high six goals to pace the Bruins, who held a 9-5 halftime lead. Luke Apostolides and Ryan Ohl registered three goals apiece, while Vilas Sogaard and William Ewald each had one goal in the winning effort. Greenwich, which is 15-2, its only two losses coming against Brunswick, received three goals from Chase Wilson and two tallies from Charlie Kosinski. Colby Goldstein added one goal for Greenwich, which trailed 7-1 early in the second quarter.
“They came out strong, they’re always a good team,” Apostolides said. “We trained for this pool, we trained to play them specifically and we were just ready. We came here ready and we just played our game. We didn’t listen to the crowd, we played our game and that was the key to winning against this team.”
Ryan Miele was a standout in goal for the Bruins, making numerous saves each quarter. The Bruins also made it difficult for the Cardinals to get clear shots on goal, due to solid zone defense.
“Greenwich has a lot of good 1-on-1 players, they’re a very talented team,” Iordache said. “We played a zone and we were able to block some shots. Ryan Miele also made some big saves for us.”
Paul Laufenberg played in goal for Greenwich, whose best moments came during the second quarter.
“It was a good weekend overall, in front of a fun crowd,” Greenwich coach Jimmy Ramaley said. “I’m disappointed obviously, with the result. Similar to the past couple of years. They go on some runs and they really get some momentum and it’s hard to keep up with it.”
The Cards scored the first goal of the game, as Kosinski converted a penalty shot, making it 1-0 at the 6:33 mark of the first quarter. Brunswick responded with four straight goals to end the opening quarter. Apostolides tied the score at 1-1 with a game a little more than 30 seconds later, then Ryan Ohl gave the Bruins the lead for good at 2-1 by converting a shot at the 2:20 mark of the first quarter.
JP Ohl’s first goal came with 59 seconds remaining in the opening quarter, a tally that put the Bruins ahead, 3-1. Brunswick ended the quarter in style, as Ryan Ohl’s shot from 20 yards at the buzzer zipped past Laufenberg into the goal, making it 4-1.
Consecutive goals from JP Ohl and a tally from William Ewald stretched the Bruins’ advantage to 7-1, then JP Ohl was accurate with another shut, putting Brunswick on top, 8-1. Meanwhile, Brunswick’s defensive play was sound.
“We know their threats and it’s all about communication,” Apostolides said. “When we are talking together in the pool we are only talking to each other and that’s how we cover each other’s backs.”
Greenwich worked its way back into the game on a goal by Goldstein and a pair of goals by Wilson, bringing the team to within 8-4. Another goal by Wilson on a breakaway made it 8-5. The last goal of the second quarter went to the Bruins, as Sogaard tallied, giving his squad a 9-5 edge.
In the third quarter, Brunswick outscored Greenwich, 3-1, to open a 12-6 advantage. JP Ohl continued his strong offensive game during the second half.
“JP Ohl is an amazing player, he is going to play for Princeton,” Iordache said. “He showed up today and I’m very proud of him and how he developed his senior year.”
Brunswick finished with a 4-0 record at the Cardinal Tournament, defeating Greenwich’s Varsity B team, YPro Water Polo and CT Premier Water Polo Club. Greenwich finished with a 3-1 mark in its own tournament, beating Staples, The Hill School and Greenwich Aquatics.
“For the tournament, Chase Wilson a center, was dominant in the middle, not only scoring but drawing ejections,” Ramaley said. “Our captain No. 7 (Mic Dilascia) was really smart had some nice steals, Dado (Soares) was a good leader and Paul made some big saves. We didn’t help him enough in there against Brunswick.”
“Our center (Wilson) drew seven exclusions and we probably scored one or two goals, while being a man-up,” Ramaley continued. “Defensively, we have to be able to defend 1-on-1 better. Brunswick’s defense is good, they have a lot of blockers.”
Greenwich competes at the Annapolis Classic at the United States Naval Academy next weekend. Brunswick plays Loomis Chaffee School and Phillips Andover Academy next weekend. The Bruins and Cardinals will meet again on Brunswick’s Homecoming Day on Oct. 29.
“After last year without this tournament, it felt right to come out here and compete,” said Aidan Marks, one of the Bruins seniors. “Just coming here without the home pool advantage we were able to play our game. It was an amazing atmosphere. We beat them on their home turf, so they should come out swinging when they come to our game, so we have to prepare for that.”