Boise State water polo falls to Oregon State in division championship

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Countless hours of sacrifice led to a special opportunity for the Broncos in Pallayup, Wash. on Nov. 2. After joining the Northwest Conference for the first time, the team found themselves in the conference championship game. 

Winning the tournament would allow the Broncos to travel to Pittsburgh, Pa. to compete in the Men’s National Collegiate Club Championship — a first for the club. 

In game one, the Blue and Orange competed against the No. 5 seed, Western Washington. Western Washington came ready to play, only trailing the Broncos by one goal at the half. However, the No. 3 seeded Broncos finished strong, defeating the Vikings 15-8.  

“We came out pretty slow, and Western Washington came to play,” said captain Eli Foli. “A lot of my teammates said to me that they didn’t feel warmed up until the fourth quarter.”

Game number two for the Broncos saw an even tougher opponent in the No. 2 seed, University of Oregon. Going into the semifinal matchup, Boise State was 0-1 on the season against the Ducks. Now a significantly improved team, the Broncos were able to compete with the talented Oregon unit. 

Tied at 8-8 with under two minutes left in regulation, flat Jack Jenkins scored a goal from halfcourt to give the Broncos the lead. A defensive steal and another goal would seal the deal, providing the Broncos with a 10-8 win and a spot in the championship game.

“That was probably the best game that we’ve played all season,” said goalie Lucas Denny.

Two weeks after handing Oregon State University their first regular-season loss in three years, Boise State would meet the Beavers once again — this time, for a chance to compete in the Men’s National Collegiate Club Championship. The Beavers were able to gain early momentum by going up 5-1 in the first quarter, and a late resurgence by the Broncos was not enough, as Oregon State would go on to win 14-10. 

“To go to the championship game in our first year in the conference was pretty awesome,” Foli said. “Our defense didn’t really show up, but I really couldn’t be mad with how we played.”

Thanks to Central Washington dropping out of the tournament a week prior, Boise State was able to bring a “B,” or secondary, team to Pallyup. Although the “B” team finished 0-3 in the tournament, having both teams compete allowed for more Broncos to receive playing time.

“Since it was a championship tournament, it was nice that more people were able to play this way,” said center and club vice president Serena Krause. “On the final day, we were even more unified when we were cheering on the ‘A’ in the championship game.”

The success over the past season is, in large , due to the family-like environment created by the team. Krause credits much of the family aspect to spending more time with one another. 

“Playing in more tournaments this year has allowed us to become familiar with one another,” Krause said. “We also had a barbeque at the beginning of the year that helped us grow closer together and gain friendships.”

The Broncos will continue their practice schedule until the conclusion of the 2020 spring semester. Practices are held in the Boise State Rec pool on Mondays and Wednesdays from 8 to 10 p.m.

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