Men’s Water Polo Set to Compete at the Princeton Invitational

Photo of Evan Zepfel courtesy

The Harvard Men’s water polo team travels to Princeton, N.J. to take part in the Princeton Invitational Sept. 12-13. The Crimson will play George Washington and No. 11 Princeton on Sept. 12 and No. 16 Santa Clara and Fordham on the following day.  The game against the Tigers will be shown on FiOS1 TV on tape delay.

About Harvard:
The Crimson enters the tournament carrying a 0-3 record. Harvard dropped three games at the MIT Invitational to Pacific, Claremont and Redlands. Junior co-captain Bret Voith leads the team with four goals while senior co-captain Egan Atkinson and juniors Jeff Lee and Alex Thompson have each netted three goals. Between the pipes, senior Nikhil Balaraman has played in two games making 14 total saves and sophomore Alexandre Popp played in the season-opener against No. 13 Pacific making eight saves.

About George Washington:
George Washington comes into the tournament boasting an overall record of 2-2. The Colonials have beaten Mercyhurst and Queens (N.Y.) and have lost to Concordia (Ca.) and No. 2 Stanford. The Crimson will play the Colonials in the first round of the ECAC Championships on Sept. 18, which will also be held in Princeton, N.J. The last meeting between the Colonials and the Crimson was in 2007 with the Colonials coming out the victors.

About Princeton:
The Princeton Invitational will be No. 11 Princeton’s first action of the season. The Tigers’ first game of the season will be against UCLA on Sept. 11. Princeton returns its leading scorer from last season, as Eric Vreeland enters his senior year after scoring 44 goals and adding 40 assists in 29 games played. The Tigers have a roster of nine seniors, five juniors, four sophomores and five rookies. Harvard’s last match versus Princeton came in 2007 with the Tigers edging out the Crimson, 10-8.

About Santa Clara:
Santa Clara will also play its first game of the season at the Princeton Invitational on Sept. 11 against Fordham. Santa Clara is ranked No. 16 in this week’s Collegiate Water Polo Association (CWPA) national poll. The Broncos return 14 players, four seniors, four juniors, six sophomores and add ten freshmen. Santa Clara returns its statistical leader from 2008, junior Jack Wall who had 73 goals, 38 assists and 33 steals. In the previous meeting between the Crimson and Broncos, Santa Clara earned a 9-4 victory in 2005.

About Fordham:
Fordham will enter the Princeton Invitational with a 1-3 overall record. The Rams won their first match of the season against Toronto and then lost three straight contests to NOVA Club, Concordia (Calif.) and No. 18 Bucknell. The Rams will take on the Santa Clara Broncos in their first match of the Princeton Invitational. The Crimson topped the Rams last season, 13-10, at the Northern Division Championships.

Last Time Out:
The Crimson fell to Redlands by a score of 15-7 at the MIT Invitational on last weekend. Atkinson, Thompson, Lee, Voith, Dan Furman, Max Eliot and Kevin DiSilvestro all found the back of the net once against Redlands. Nikhil Balaraman made seven saves and five steals during the match.

Record vs. Ranked:
Harvard is 0-1 versus teams ranked in the CWPA National poll. The Crimson fell to Pacific, who was ranked No. 13, in its first match of the season at the MIT Invitational by a score of 17-4.

Up Next:
The Crimson will take on intra-city rival MIT in the 2009 home opener at Blodgett Pool on Sept. 16. The game is scheduled to begin at 7:30 pm.