Located in the heart of Baltimore is a DIII water polo squad that is a threat to grab a bid to the national championship in December. Johns Hopkins has already beaten Navy, arguably the best team in the CWPA South, and Brown, the best team in the CWPA North, to be an Eastern Championship threat. This past weekend, Johns Hopkins captured another Division III Eastern Championship, but with the season hitting its most important two months, the Blue Jays are looking for much more.
Johns Hopkins is coached by Ted Bresnahan. Bresnahan has led Johns Hopkins for 21 seasons and entered this campaign with 303 career victories. During his tenure, Bresnahan has guided the Blue Jays to 14 Division III Eastern Championships and has coached 40 All-Americans along with five ACWPC Division III National Players of the Year. Below, Bresnahan discusses this year’s squad and his program’s championship ambitions.
Johns Hopkins recently defeated Navy and is a contender in both the CWPA South and at Easterns. What do you have to do to win both tournaments?
Bresnahan: First, we have to get out of Southerns and into Easterns. The South has the most parity I have seen in 22 years. Everyone has beaten each other. Two good teams from the South will be left home from Easterns.
We need to play good defense and that includes our press, zones and five-on-six. It has been a good year as we have beaten Brown who is the top team in the North and Navy who many would say is the best team in the South. Our new assistant coach Ivan Ivovic has been a big help for us.
Can you tell us a little about the challenges of recruiting to Johns Hopkins?
Bresnahan: The first thing I do when talking to a prospective athlete is ask their GPA and SAT scores. All of our athletes had top-notch grades in high school. The easy part is recruiting — the hard part is getting guys admitted. I would like to point out that John Birney, our Senior Associate Director of Admissions, has been a huge help for us over the years. The school wanting to add more people from the West Coast has also assisted us.
Schofield is a returning All-American who is having a great season. What makes him an outstanding player?
Bresnahan: Ross has 74 goals, 43 assists and 32 steals, so he is having a real good year. His assist-to-goal ratio makes him tremendous. Ross was a two-meter defender out of Greenwich with speed. He went a 46 flat in the 100 meters in high school. He can also shut down anyone.
We have four guys with over 35 goals which is big and both Ross and Alex Whittam have over 200 career goals.
Speaking of Alex Whittam, what makes him stand out?
Bresnahan: Alex has 38 goals, 41 assists and 60 steals. Alex is always around the ball and is just a great defender. He also leads the team with 17 field blocks. Alex has always been a great passer and scorer but this year we asked him to assume more of a defensive role and he has delivered.
It should be pointed out that Wes Hopkins has been very good. We also have a great senior class led by Kielan Crow. I believe we have both the best senior and freshman classes in the South. Our goalies, Danny Ovelar and Erik Henrikson have also been very good. They play differently, which enables us to play mind games with the opposition.