Head coach Ted Minnis will look to guide Harvard back to the CWPA Eastern Championships for the second-straight year (Photo courtesy: Harvard Athletic Communications).
CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – Harvard men's water polo team will begin its 2012-2013 campaign with a tripleheader Sept. 1 at the Labor Day Invite on the campus of MIT. The Crimson faces Diablo Valley College (10 a.m.), MIT (noon) and Yale (4 p.m.) to kickoff the season on Saturday.
The Crimson is coming off a 2011 season in which it finished 10-20 overall and placed seventh at the College Water Polo Association (CWPA) Eastern Championship. Harvard returns three of its top four goal scorers from last season in Max Eliot (44 g, 3 a), John Holland-McCowan (33 g, 7 a) and Max Murphy (28 g, 11 a). Three of the top four defenders also return as Evan Ramsey (55 steals), Will Roller (28 steals) and Holland-McCowan (28 steals) are back.
While the Crimson returns significant numbers from last season, the team also said good bye to five seniors from last year's squad. Alexandre Popp, Evan Zepfel, Mike Katzer, Luka Babic and Kevin DiSilvestro were all lost to graduation. Popp served as the team's primary goaltender last year and made 244 saves in net, while the other four seniors accounted for 93 goals or 38 percent of the offense.
For the second straight year, head coach Ted Minnis has brought in a large recruiting class. Robbie Fluegge, Noah Harrison, Blake Lee, Christopher Miao, Austen Novis, Colin Woolway and Ben Zepfel comprise the seven-man class that includes a three-year member of the Pacific Zone USA Olympic Development team, a member of the USA Water Polo Men's Junior/Youth National Team, four All-America selections and a three-time NEPSAC champion.
O Captain! My Captain!
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.
Third Times a Charm
Ted Minnis returns for his third season as the head coach of both the Harvard men's and women's water polo teams. He'll be joined on the bench by Jessi Wood and Kristin Stanford. The Crimson have shown improvement in each of their first two seasons under Minnis and are now looking to take the next step after reaching the CWPA Eastern Championships for the first time since 2007 last year.
Click the below video to see Minnis' thoughts on the upcoming season.
Diablo Valley is coming off its fourth straight Big 8 Conference Championship and an 18-4 season in 2011. The junior college has produced numerous Division I players in recent years and has posted a 4-1 mark against Division I programs the last two years. This will be the first ever meeting between the Vikings and Crimson.
The Engineers return their top four scorers from last year's squad that went 10-15. Craig Cheney, who is back for his junior season, led the way with 50 goals and nine assists, while Dylan Hallman and Andrew Dorne both tallied 27 goals. Last year, the Crimson and Engineers faced off in three hotly contested matches. Harvard won the season series, 2-1, including an 11-10 overtime win in the opening round of the CWPA Northern Division Championships to send the Crimson to the CWPA Eastern Championships and increase Harvard's all-time series lead to 75-19.
The Yale men's club water polo team is coming off one of its finest seasons in history. The Bulldogs advanced to the finals of the CWPA Men's National Collegiate Club Championships before falling to the top-seeded USC Trojans, 8-5. Yale returns All-New England selections Andrew Nelson and Dom Kwok from last year's squad. The Crimson holds a 46-0 all-time series lead, including a 12-7 win at the 2010 Ivy Championships in the teams' last meeting.
The Crimson will head to Princeton, N.J. for four games Sept. 7-9 in the Princeton Invitational. Harvard takes on Cal Lutheran, Princeton, California and Johns Hopkins in the three-day event before hosting the North-South Challenge Sept. 15 at Blodgett Pool.