ORANGE, Calif. - The Chapman men's water polo team enters the 2019 season with a fifth place ranking in the SCIAC Pre-Season Poll.
After finishing sixth in last year's conference standings with an overall record of 7-7, the team narrowly missed their chances to compete in the SCIAC Postseason Tournament.
Senior goalkeeper and second year All-American Wes Hertel finished last season with a school record of 314 saves and a team-best 66 steals. The Houston, Texas native will be returning in goal this year.
Fellow classmate Jared Bernardi is also returning to the pool for his final season. The driver played in 24 games last season, scoring four goals while tallying five assists.
All-American Graham Asalone was the squad's highest scorer with 126 points (69 assists and 57 goals) his freshman year. The rookie was also ranked second on the team in drawn exclusions and steals which led to him landing a spot on the All-SCIAC Second Team. The Carlsbad, Calif. native will be a strong component for the team's offense in his second season.
Sophomores Brad Wilson and Evan Belli will look to continue to dominate on offense, with the pair combining for 43 goals and 61 assists last season. Belli will also provide help on defense as he ranked second on the team with 53 steals in 2018.
The Panthers hope to make another run for the Postseason Tournament this season with six new freshmen on the 23-player squad.
The season is set to begin at the UC San Diego Triton Invitational on Saturday, Sept. 7 at 9:50am as they face off against UC Davis.
by Niki Ardebili
Sports Information Intern