This month we stopped by a CWPA Northern Division power to discuss both their chances of winning that title and to take their Easterns' pulse. Brown has always been one of the top teams east of the Mississippi and this year is no exception. With a strong core returning, no one will be surprised if this group which has started the season hot ends up vying for another Eastern crown.
Brown is led by Coach Felix Mercado. Mercado has won over twenty games each season for the past three campaigns and is on pace to do the same this fall. Mercado has earned plenty of accolades for his outstanding coaching acumen as he was named Northern Division Coach of the Year from 2007-2009. He earned an additional honor this past offseason as it was announced that Mercado is now President of the Association of Collegiate Water Polo Coaches. I sat down with Coach Mercado to discuss Brown's squad this fall and below was our interview.
Brown has won nine of the past ten games. What do you need to do to not only win the North but perhaps take Easterns?
Brown University is a Team, we are a group of individuals working selflessly for each other so that our team may get better. Our goal, get better every time we practice. If we have that attitude through the end of the year we will have put ourselves in a great situation to be successful for Northerns and Easterns.
Your seniors have been outstanding this season and we want to highlight them. First off, Henry Fox has been a contributor for your squad since arriving on campus. What makes him the great player that he is?
He is big, fast, strong, and creates opportunities well, he is a natural player who fits perfectly into our system of play. He has done this since he stepped on campus and each year has gotten better and better.
Another senior in Nicholas Deaver has been stuffing the stat sheet for your team. Can you tell us a little about his game?
Nick has always been a selfless player and this year is no different. He is arguably one of the top defensive players in our conference. This year his offense is shining through. As I pointed out in the first question, we play for each other and in doing so Nick has found himself in the right place at the right time Offensively all season long, putting away big shots. It is nice to see him playing so well during his senior season. Nick, Hank and senior goalie Andrew Brown have been crucial in creating the team and culture you are seeing this season.
Brown has a current member of Israel's National team that has made an immediate impact since arriving on campus. Can you discuss Yahel Murvitz-Lahav and what you are expecting from him this year and in the future?
Yahel is a great person and we are happy to have the opportunity to coach him. His vision for the game and ability to put the ball in the back of the cage makes him a great threat in the pool. We expect the same consistent play that we have seen every game and in the future look forward to him getting stronger and faster.
Brown is currently giving two goalies significant time in the cage. Is that something you anticipate doing all season?
The only thing we anticipate doing this season is working hard, getting better every time we practice. If both goalies continue to play as well as they have been we will continue to play them both.
With that our interview ended. I am keeping a close eye on Brown this fall as I really think the East is wide open once again. Perhaps Princeton will be the favorite at Easterns, but you can make an argument that the teams seeded between second and eighth are roughly equal to each other. Brown could be a factor here as I like that they have veterans leading their team. I look forward to seeing them compete the rest of the way.