No. 15 Men’s Water Polo Starts Season with Bruno Classic

No. 15 Men’s Water Polo Starts Season with Bruno Classic

PROVIDENCE, R.I. – No. 15 Brown University men's water polo begins its 2017 season with six games from Saturday, Sept. 2 to Sunday, Sept. 3 as the Bears host the sixth annual Bruno Classic at the Katherine Moran Coleman Aquatics Center.

The Bears open the year with three games on Saturday, facing McKendree (8:30 a.m.), No. 19 St. Francis Brooklyn (12:30 p.m.), and No. 16 Cal Baptist (7:00 p.m.) prior to taking on No. 5 Pacific (8:00 a.m.), No. 7 Pepperdine (11:45 a.m.), and No. 3 Stanford (3:45 p.m.) on Sunday.

Bruno Classic: Tournament Central
Saturday Video: Vs. McKendree | Vs. St. Francis Brooklyn | Vs. Cal Baptist
Sunday Video: Vs. Pacific | Vs. Pepperdine | Vs. Stanford
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Via Hashtag: #GoBruno 

Video of all 23 games at the Bruno Classic, including the 15 games played at Brown and the eight games played at Harvard, will be broadcast live on the Ivy League Network. Fans can subscribe and view games by purchasing yearly, monthly, or daily packages. A one-month Brown pass for $10.95 will allow viewers to watch all 23 games in the tournament. 

The sixth annual Bruno Classic comprises 11 teams, including the Bears, playing 23 games over two days with Harvard hosting eight of the tournament's games. Day one will feature 12 games, and day two will comprise 11 games. A total of eight of the 11 teams earned a spot in the CWPA preseason rankings, including four teams ranked in the top 10.

The field includes No. 14 Bucknell, No. 16 Cal Baptist, No. 10 Harvard, McKendree, MIT, No. 5 Pacific, No. 7 Pepperdine, No. 3 Stanford, No. 19 St. Francis Brooklyn, and Wagner. 

In 2016, the Bears captured their third straight regular season conference title, claiming the inaugural Northeast Water Polo Conference regular season championship. Head coach Felix Mercado won NWPC Coach of the Year accolades and coached NWPC Player of the Year Luke Weiser '17 and a pair of ACWPC All-Americans in Yahel Murvitz-Lahav '17 and Jake Wyatt '17

Brown returns experienced veterans across all three of its upper classes. In the senior class, Rico Burke (San Mateo, Calif.) returns after earning Second Team All-NWPC a year ago and leading the team with 38 steals. Tyler Kirchberg (Orinda, Calif.) scored a career-high 48 goals with 29 assists last season while Tommy Bush (Lafayette, Calif.) added 38 points on 17 goals and 21 assists.

Juniors Spencer Carroll (Newport Beach, Calif.) and Santiago Nunez (Miami, Fla.) each came up with 18 steals a year ago. In net, junior Will Renken (South Pasadena, Calif.) has totaled 11 double-figure save performances in his career.

Several members of the team's sophomore class made an immediate impact as rookies last season, including Hudson Rawlings (Murrieta, Calif.) who tallied 27 goals and 51 ejections drawn, Armen Deirmenjian (Beverly Hills, Calif.) who notched 33 steals, and Jack Wilson (Pacific Palisades, Calif.) who chipped in 20 steals. 

Brown brings five freshmen aboard for the 2017 season in a group that includes center defender Adam Fuller (Santa Barbara, Calif.), goalkeeper Riad Hallal (Coronado, Calif.), attacker Daniel Hu (Colleyville, Texas), goalkeeper Charlie Pang (Greenwich, Conn.), and attacker Aidan Reilly (Los Angeles, Calif.). 

Felix Mercado enters his 11th season as the head coach of Brown University's men's and women's water polo teams in 2017-18 having coached 17 all-conference performers and nine All-Americans on the men's side alone during his time with the Bears. The Brown men have posted seven straight 20-win seasons and won the CWPA Championship and earned a berth into the NCAA Championship in 2014. 

After the Bruno Classic, Brown competes at the Princeton Invitational from Sept. 9-10, squaring off with No. 4 UCLA (Sept. 9, 12:30 a.m.), No. 18 George Washington (Sept. 9, 6:45 p.m.), Fordham (Sept. 10, 7:30 a.m.), and Wagner (Sept. 10, 3:45 p.m.).