Max Murphy has scored six goals thus far this season. (Photo courtesy: Harvard Athletic Communications).
CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – The Harvard men's water polo team will host the North-South Challenge this weekend at Blodgett Pool with three games on the slate. The Crimson starts the weekend off at 10:30 a.m. Saturday against Bucknell. Harvard plays again Saturday afternoon against either St. Francis or Mercyhurst before concluding the tournament Sunday.
Last Time Out
Harvard went 1-3 against the nation's top teams at the Princeton Invitational last weekend. The Crimson opened the weekend with a win, 13-5, over California Lutheran behind five goals from freshman Blake Lee Friday night. On Saturday, the Crimson dropped a pair of 13-7 decisions to No. 13 Princeton and No. 3 California before falling again on Sunday against Johns Hopkins, 8-5.
Schedule of Events
Eight teams will descend upon Blodgett Pool for this weekend's tournament. The North is represented by St. Francis, Brown, Harvard and Iona, while the South has sent Princeton, Bucknell, George Washington and Mercyhurst.
|Saturday, Sept. 15|
|Game 1||9:00 a.m.||St. Francis vs. Mercyhurst|
|Game 2||10:30 a.m.||Harvard vs. Bucknell|
|Game 3||12:00 p.m.||Princeton vs. Iona|
|Game 4||1:30 p.m.||Brown vs. George Washington|
|Game 5||3:30 p.m.||Loser G1 vs. Loser G2|
|Game 6||5:00 p.m.||Loser G3 vs. Loser G4|
|Game 7||6:30 p.m.||Winner G1 vs. Winner G2|
|Game 8||8:00 p.m.||Winner G3 vs. Winner G4|
|Sunday, Sept. 16|
|7th place||9:00 a.m.||Loser G5 vs. Loser G6|
|5th place||10:30 a.m.||Winner G5 vs. Winner G6|
|3rd place||12:00 p.m.||Loser G7 vs. Loser G8|
|1st place||1:30 p.m.||
Winner G7 vs. Winner G8
The freshman class has made an immediate impact on the squad. Blake Lee leads the team with 17 goals, while classmates Noah Harrison and Ben Zepfel are tied for second along with junior Will Roller with seven goals apiece. Lee also has the second most assists, while Harrison leads the team with 10 steals. Freshman Robbie Fluegge has made an impact on both sides of the pool, as well, with five goals and six steals. Rookie Colin Woolway has also split time in goal with junior Jimmy Field and has made 22 saves.
The Crimson went 1-2 in the North-South Challenge last season. Harvard bested Mercyhurst but fell to Bucknell and Navy in the three-game event in Annapolis, Md.
After scoring six goals and making five steals in three games at the Labor Day Invite, freshman Noah Harrison was named the Collegiate Water Polo Association Northern Division Rookie of the Week for Sept. 3. It is the first such award for him and the Crimson this season after the team received 12 a year ago.
Captains of the Ship
The men's water polo team has elected two captains for the upcoming season. Senior Max Eliot and junior Will Roller have been selected to lead the Crimson in 2012. Eliot topped the offense last season with 44 goals and three assists, while Roller was a force on both sides of the ball with 18 goals, 22 assists and 28 steals.
The Bison come into this weekend with a 3-3 mark after going 1-3 at the Princeton Invitational last weekend. Bucknell lost to ranked opponents St. Francis (No. 20), California (No. 3) and Brown (No. 18) before topping Fordham to end the weekend on a high note. Stefan Aleksic leads the team with 13 goals, while Mike Kimble and Jack Else both have 12 goals.
About the Field
Three of the eight teams in the field enter the weekend ranked. Princeton (No. 13) is the highest ranked team in the field, while Brown and St. Francis (N.Y.) are ranked 19th and 20th. Mercyhurst is undefeated at 4-0. George Washington is coming off an 0-4 weekend at the Princeton Invitational to sit at 4-4 overall, and Iona is 1-3.