By John Torenli
Brooklyn Daily Eagle
One of these days, the St. Francis Terriers aren’t just going to show up at the NCAA Water Polo Final Four.
They’re going to win it!
Buoyed by the brilliant play of senior star Marko Gencic, the Terriers survived a double-overtime thriller against Bucknell on Sunday, emerging from the pool at Princeton University with their second CWPA Eastern Championship in three years and third title overall.
“Deep inside we trusted ourselves and knew we could get it done,” said a jubilant Genko after earning tournament MVP honors by tallying the game-winning goal with 1:25 remaining in the second overtime.
“It’s my second time going to the Final Four,” added Gencic, who scored 15 goals in the Terriers’ three victories over Navy, Mercyhurst College and Bucknell. “As a senior, I can’t think of any better way to finish my career here.”
Perhaps a couple of more victories in Los Angeles from Dec. 1-2 would be a more fitting end?
Though they’ve gone to the Final Four three times since first achieving the ultimate goal of any water polo squad in the nation in 2005, the Terriers have yet to capture a national championship.
One of the best-kept secrets in our fair borough, and the tri-state area as a whole, coach Igor Samardzija’s team can break out of virtual obscurity with a Cinderella effort against the likes of defending four-time national champion USC at the national semifinals.
“It was just a matter of us staying patient, working the ball around and finding the gaps,” Samardzija noted after his team’s championship-winning performance at Princeton.
Remsen Street’s Terriers aren’t the only team in the neighborhood celebrating an NCAA Tournament berth this week.
For the seventh time in the last decade, but first since 2009, the LIU-Brooklyn women’s volleyball squad punched its ticket to the national championships with a three-sets-to-one triumph over visiting Central Connecticut State in the Northeast Conference title game at Downtown’s Wellness Center on Sunday.
Coach Kyle Robinson’s team, spearheaded by NEC Tournament Most Valuable Player and league MVP Annika Foit, completed a perfect 18-0 run through the circuit by knocking off St. Francis (Pa.) on Saturday and CCSU in the final.
Come Sunday at approximately 4 p.m., the Blackbirds (25-7 overall) will find out who their first-round opponent will be during the NCAA Tournament Selection Show.
Foit, a sophomore opposite out of Germany, had 20 kills, 13 digs and five blocks in the title match, while fellow All-Tournament selection Tamara Ignjic, a freshman outside hitter from Serbia, added a match-high 22 kills.
Robinson earned his third NEC title in five seasons at the helm.
Over at Brooklyn College, sophomore Shani Abrahams, a native Brooklynite, was named the 2012 CUNYAC Women’s Soccer Rookie of the Year this past week after helping the Lady Bulldogs to a solid 6-7-1 record in their first year of existence.
Abrahams started all 14 games for BC, scoring a team-high 11 goals with one assist to rack up 23 points.
"I feel so honored to be the recipient of this award,” said Abrahams. “Playing college soccer is literally a dream come true for me. I'm so grateful to my team and my coaches for making my first year such a wonderful experience."
"Shani is truly deserving of her 2012 CUNYAC Rookie of the Year award," added BC coach Patrick Horne. "I don't believe there is another player in the CUNYAC who worked as hard, and she made full use of her uncoachable asset - her speed. She carried us on her slim shoulders and her fast feet from the very first game to the last, and words cannot express how proud I am of Shani and all the girls."