WATER POLO YMCA teams shine at middle schoolnationals
The YMCA of Greenwich Aquatics middle school boys water polo team made history at the 26th annual Champions Cup, while Greenwich Aquatics’ girls team enjoyed a successful run at the competition held this past weekend at Indiana University in Bloomington, Ind.
The Champions Cup, which is run by USA Water Polo and is the National Middle School Championships, featured only 12 of the top teams in the U.S., nine of which hailed from California. The YMCA of Greenwich teams earned their spots at the tournament by being the No. 1-ranked teams in the Northeast region.
Greenwich Aquatics’ boys squad made history with a third-place finish, the best a non-California team has ever fared at the Middle School Championships. Greenwich’s boys defeated CC United from California, 12-3, the 680 Drivers (California) in a shootout, Rose Bowl (California), 11-7 and Newport Beach (California), 9-7.
Their lone loss came when they dropped a 7-3 decision against LA Premier of California in the semifinals. Greenwich Aquatics rebounded from the defeat to beat Stamford (Calif.) 9-8 in their final game. The 680 Drivers, a squad Greenwich Aquatics beat, wound up winning the tournament.
“The boys did an amazing job against the all the top teams from the United States,” Greenwich Aquatics coach Ulmis Iordache said. “We have proven yet again that Greenwich is one of the top teams in the country and we can compete against anyone. These young men have been working really hard and it paid off this weekend. I can’t wait to continue this journey with this talented group. I have no doubt that there are even greater things ahead if they stick together.”
Greenwich Aquatics’ girls squad finished seventh, which was two places better than last year’s performance. Two of their losses came to the top two squads in the tournament. On the first day of competition, their only loss was to SOCAL (Calif., 11-8), which went on to win the tourney. They also lost to Commerce (Calif.) on the second day of action - a team that was the runner-up at the Middle School Championships.
Greenwich registered a hard-fought win against Diablo from California (5-3) and beat Rose Bowl, 13-4, in the seventh-place game. Elektra Urbatsch was the leading scorer for Greenwich.
“We had a very young, but talented group of girls this year,” Greenwich Aquatics coach Jamie Wolff said. “Despite their size and younger age, the girls proved they were fearless. They dominated on defense and they all have very bright water polo futures ahead.”
Patrick Mullen, an 8th grader at Greenwich Country Day School, was the boys’ leading scorer at the Middle School Championships and was awarded the Jody Campbell Sportsmanship Award. CJ Weigel, an eighth-grader at Eastern Middle School, led Greenwich Aquatics on defense. A goalie, she was presented with the Ma ureen O’Toole Sportsmanship Award.