Season Recap: Mens Water Polo Employs Experience to Finish Fifth at Northerns
Photo courtesy of Gil Talbot.
The Harvard men’s water polo team completed the 2009
season with an overall record of 7-17 and a 3-3 mark in the
Northern Division of the Collegiate Water Polo Association. The
Crimson placed fifth at the Northern Division Championships held at
Blodgett Pool after finishing sixth in 2008. Harvard also placed
ninth at the ECAC Championships.
This fall, the Crimson defeated George Washington, 12-7, Sept. 12, and MIT, 9-6, Sept. 16. Harvard dominated Connecticut College and Queens (N.Y.) this season, downing the Camels three times and the Knights twice. The Crimson earned victories over Connecticut College by scores of 15-5, 13-4 and 20-6. Harvard defeated Queens (N.Y.) 12-7, Sept. 26, and 15-8, Nov. 8, in the fifth-place match at the Northern Division Championships. Harvard culminated the season by winning its final two matches en route to a fifth-place finish at the Northern Division Championships.
The Crimson dropped five games by three goals or fewer during the season. The closest match of the season was a 10-9 loss to Claremont-Mudd-Scripps Sept. 5 at the MIT Invitational. Harvard lost 7-5 to MIT Nov. 7 in the first round of the Northern Division Championships. The Crimson fell to Fordham, Iona and Pomona-Pitzer by three goals in the season.
Senior Alex Thompson paced the squad with 29 goals while co-captains senior Egen Atkinson and junior Bret Voith were close behind with 28 and 27 tallies, respectively. Along with Atkinson, Thompson and Voith, six other players recorded double-digits in the goals category. Freshman Max Eliot scored 25 goals and junior Jeff Lee had 21. Overall, Harvard’s offense was a total team effort as 14 players found the back of the net throughout the course of the season.
Between the posts, senior Nikhil Balaraman and sophomore Alexandre Popp split time. Balaraman started 13 games and Popp got the nod 11 times. Balaraman turned aside 116 shots and Popp stopped 98.
Four Crimson athletes garnered numerous honors in 2009. Junior co-captain Bret Voith was honored on the All-Northern Division first team. Senior co-captain Egen Atkinson was the Northern Division Player of the Week and freshman Max Eliot earned Northern Division Rookie of the Week honors three times. Voith and sophomore Mike Katzer were tabbed to the Northern Division honor roll once apiece.
Harvard will graduate four seniors from the program and will welcome back 12 underclassmen. The returners are comprised of five juniors, five sophomores and just two rookies. Head coach Erik Farrar will lose two two-meter defensemen, a driver and a goalie due to graduation.