Men's Water Polo Takes Six-Game Win Streak To The Bison Invitational

Men's Water Polo Takes Six-Game Win Streak To The Bison Invitational

Colin Woolway and the rest of the Crimson will look to continue their six-game win streak this weekend (Photo courtesy: Justine Agaloos). 

The men's water polo team is riding high after sweeping the weekend to start conference play 4-0 and extend its winning streak to six games. Harvard will look to continue that streak this weekend with four games against Navy, Johns Hopkins, the University of Toronto and Bucknell at the Bison Invitational this weekend. The Crimson will take on the Midshipmen (1:30 p.m.) and Blue Jays (6 p.m.) Saturday, and the Blues (8 a.m.) and Bison (2:30 p.m.) Sunday.  

Click here for a complete schedule of games. 

Last Time Out
Harvard began conference play by defeating MIT, 13-12, and Connecticut College, 14-9, on the road and Fordham, 12-7, and Iona, 11-3, at home to start 4-0 in CWPA Northern Division play. It also extended the team's winning streak to six games, which dates back to the final two games of the North-South Challenge and is the longest unbeaten spell since the Crimson won nine straight in October 2002.

Click the video below to hear head coach Ted Minnis and junior co-captain Will Roller talk about the team's recent success.

Defense Wins Championships
During Harvard's current six-game win streak, the Crimson have outscored opponents, 81-53, and allowed an average of 8.8 goals during the span. Defense has been the key during the stretch as the team has recorded 75 steals, an average of 12.5 per game, and 67 saves, an average of 11.2 per game.  

Lee-ding The Way
Through the first four weeks of the season, freshman Blake Lee leads the team in all three major statistical categories. Lee is tied for the team lead in goals with 30 and sits alone at the top in assists with 23 and steals with 27.

Freshmen Phenoms
In addition to Lee, several other freshmen have made significant contributions this season. Ben Zepfel has scored 23 goals the last two weekends to move into a tie for the top spot on the team with 30. He also has 16 steals, which is third most on the team. Noah Harrison ranks second on the squad in steals (26), third in goals (22) and third in assists (11). Robbie Fluegge has made an impact on both ends of the pool, recording nine goals, eight assists and 13 steals through the first 14 games of the year. In goal, Colin Woolway has made 51 saves while splitting time with junior Jimmy Field. In total, the team's rookies have contributed 62.4 percent of goals (93/149), 53.3 percent of assists (52/97), 58.2 percent of steals (89/153) and 38.9 percent of saves (51/131) for Harvard this season.

Rookies of the Week
Although the season is only four weeks old, three different Crimson players have been honored as the CWPA Northern Division Rookie of the Week. Blake Lee is the latest to join the crowd after scoring seven goals, making eight assists and recording 12 steals in four conference games over the weekend to get the nod for the week of Sept. 24. Ben Zepfel won Sept. 17 after netting 11 goals and four steals in the North-South Challenge, and Noah Harrison received the honor Sept. 3 for contributing six goals, one assist and five steals at the Labor Day Invite.

Click here for Lee's release, here for Zepfel's and here for Harrison's.

Defensive Player of the Week
Junior goalkeeper Jimmy Field became the first non-freshmen to be honored by the CWPA this season, earning the Northern Division Defensive Player of the Week award for Sept. 24. In eight quarters over the weekend, the Hawaii native made 24 saves and one steal to earn the first player of the week honor of his career.

Click here for the full release on Field's defensive player of the week award.

The U.S. Naval Academy is sending its 'B' team to the Bison Invitational this weekend. The Midshipmen's 'A' squad, which is ranked 17th and currently undefeated at 12-0, is headed to California for five games Saturday and Sunday.

Johns Hopkins
The Blue Jays enter the weekend ranked second in Division III, two points behind No. 1 Pomona-Pitzer. Ross Schofield (49 goals, 31 assists) and Wes Hopkins  (35 goals, 18 assists) lead the Johns Hopkins' offensive attack, which averages 15.3 goals per game. In a meeting Sept. 9, the Crimson held the Blue Jays high-powered offense in check but fell, 8-5, in both teams' final game of the Princeton Invitational.

This will be the opening set of matches for the Blues in 2012, but the University of Toronto is coming off a highly successful 2011 campaign. The squad finished second at the Ontario University Athletics Championship, falling to Carleton, 9-8, to have its three-year title streak snapped. The two teams have met once before with the Crimson prevailing, 13-4, back in 2005.

Harvard and Bucknell have gone in completely different directions since the teams played Sept. 15. While the Crimson has not lost since losing that game to the Bison, 11-3, Bucknell has lost all five of its games since that meeting.  The Bison have kept in close during the span, losing two games by one goal and none by more than four goals. Mike Kimble leads the team with 26 goals, while Stefan Aleksic has the most points with 21 goals and 17 assists.