2016 Johns Hopkins Water Polo Season Preview
BALTIMORE, MD -- The Johns Hopkins water polo team opens up the 2016 season in Providence, RI this weekend at the Brown Bruno Classic. The Blue Jays are coming off a historic season that saw them win 21 games and become the first Division III team to play in the CWPA Championship game. Hopkins is looking to build on that success as it moves into a new conference, the Mid-Atlantic Water Polo Conference.
OH CAPTAIN, MY CAPTAIN
The Blue Jays will have three captain this season in seniors Matt Fraser and Giovanni Cragnotti and junior John Wilson. Fraser is a 2013 First Team All-American and the Blue Jays active leading scorer with 140 career goals. He is also the active leader in points (221), assists (81), steals (127), blocks (26) and ejections drawn (182). Wilson had a breakout season a year ago, earning Second Team All-America honors after posting 178 saves, 24 steals and 12 assists in the cage. Cragnotti ranked third on the team a year ago in ejections drawn (29) and counts 66 in his career, good for in the in program history. He enters his senior season with an even 100 career points.
WHO'S BACK -- PART I:
Hopkins returns nine players from last year's 21-10 squad. Fraser, Cragnotti and Brett Pinsker return for their final campaign in the Hopkins Blue and Black. Pinsker has totaled 28 goals, 25 assists, 26 steals and 35 ejections drawn. He is tied for 16th in program history in ejections drawn.
Also returning are juniors Adrian Suarez, Surya Ram, Connor Johnson and Ryan Greenwald and sophomore Giorgio Cico, Josh Kurtz, Andreas Katsis, Ryan Masi and Spencer Witte. Kurtz ranked fourth on the team in assists (31) and fifth in points (49) last season, while Katsis finished fifth in goals (35) and fourth in ejections drawn (26). Cico emerged as one of top freshmen in the country in 2015, earning Second Team All-America honors. He set a Hopkins freshman records with 100 points and 44 assists while his 56 goals are the fourth most by a freshman in school history.
IN THE CAGE
Joining Wilson in the cage is Witte, who saw action in five quarters as a rookie. He finished with 10 saves, while allowing just six goals, and swiping three steals. Witte made a career-high four saves in a 17-3 win over Washington & Jefferson last season.
WHO TO WATCH FOR
The Blue Jays are joined by a trio of freshmen this season in Andres White, Carter Young and Finn Banks. White played three years with the Olympic Development Program and earned a gold medal at the Junior Olympics with the 18U team. Young earned Third Team All-America honors and was named the Pennsylvania Player of the Year as a senior at Wilson High School. Banks earned California-Hawaii All-America honors and led Sacred Heart Prep to four straight CCS D2 and WBAL Championships.
After making a historic run to the CWPA Championship game a year ago, the Blue Jays face a tough slate in 2016. Ten of Hopkins' opponents this season are ranked in the CWPA Preseason Top 20, including four inside the top 10. In addition, three opponents are receiving votes in the top 20. The first two weekends will prove quite the challenge in 14th-ranked Harvard, fourth-ranked Pacific, 13th-ranked, ninth-ranked UC San Diego, top-ranked UCLA and third-ranked Cal. Hopkins will also take on rival MIT, which is ranked seventh in the Division III Preseason Poll.
A FEW NUMBERS TO KNOW
2 -- Hopkins ranking in the CWPA Division III Preseason Poll
3 -- Number of returning ACWPC All-Americans (Matt Fraser, John White, Giorgio Cico)
10 -- Number of Hopkins opponents ranked in the Preseason Top 20
16 -- Hopkins ranking in the CWPA Varsity Preseason Poll
56 -- Career wins for the senior class
384 -- Wins for head coach Ted Bresnahan