It will be a battle of unbeatens with the CWPA Northern Division title on the line at Blodgett Pool Thursday night as the men's water polo team hosts No. 12 Brown on senior night. A win would guarantee Harvard its first CWPA division title under third-year head coach Ted Minnis, the top seed at the Northern Championships and an automatic berth in the Eastern Championships.
Last Time Out
The Crimson (12-11) traveled to California for five games in three days against some of the nation's top competition. Harvard hung with No. 10 Long Beach State for a half before falling to the 49ers, 12-5. The Crimson then fell to Division III No. 1 Pomona-Pitzer, 14-10, in the nightcap. On Saturday, the Crimson fell to No. 9 Loyola Marymount, 22-9, and Division III No. 4 Claremont McKenna-Mudd-Scripps, 16-12. In the finale, No. 2 Long Beach State raced out to an early lead before holding off Harvard, 16-12.
There's No Place Like Home
The Crimson enters the contest versus Brown with a 4-1 record at Blodgett Pool this season. After dropping its home opener to Bucknell, Harvard has reeled off four straight wins against Mercyhurst, Fordham, George Washington and Iona. The squad will also finish with a record above .500 at home for the first time since 2007 when the team went 5-3.
Salute to Seniors
Class of 2013 members Max Eliot and Antone Martinho will play the final home game of their careers against Brown after making their senior campaign one to remember. The duo contributed to Harvard's best 18-game start since 2002, guiding the Crimson to a 12-6 mark, and a nine-game winning streak, which is the second longest in program annals. Overall, Eliot and Martinho have been a part of 41 wins and the team's first trip to the Eastern Championships since 2007.
Freshman Noah Harrison was named the CWPA Northern Division Player and Rookie of the Week after his performance over the weekend. In five contests, he scored 16 goals, handed out six assists and recorded 12 steals. It was the second time this season that Harrison has been named the CWPA Rookie of the Week, his other award came Sept. 3, and the first time he has been named the Player of the Week. On the year, the California native has 46 goals, 25 assists and 47 steals.
In addition to Harrison, Ben Zepfel and Blake Lee have been honored as the CWPA Northern Division Rookie of the Week. Zepfel earned the award for Sept. 17 after netting 11 goals and four steals in the North-South Challenge, while Lee received the honor for Sept. 24 for contributing seven goals, eight assists and 12 steals in four conference games. Zepfel leads the team in goals with 49 and is third in steals with 21, and Lee ranks first in assists (35), second in steals (42) and third in goals (41). Classmate Robbie Fluegge has made an impact on both sides of the pool with 13 goals, 11 assists and 17 steals, and Colin Woolway has stopped 98 shots in net. Collectively, the freshmen have accounted 61.6 percent of goals (149/242), 54.7 percent of assists (88/161), 59.4 percent of steals (136/229) and 45.7 percent of saves (98/116).
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.
Nine In A Row
After losing to Bucknell in the opening round of the North-South Challenge, the Crimson reeled off nine straight wins before falling to Bucknell again in the final game of the Bison Invitational. During the span, which is tied for the second longest win streak in program history and one off the all-time mark established in 2001, Harvard averaged 13.4 goals per game, while only giving up 8.8 per contest. Defense was the key to the unbeaten streak as the Crimson averaged 12.4 steals and 10.1 saves per contest in the nine contests.
No. 12 Brown
The Bears enter its contest with Harvard at 17-2 overall and 4-0 in the CWPA Northern Division. Brown has also had an 11-day layoff since its last contest, which was Sept. 29 at Fordham. Captain Svetozar Stefanovic leads the team with 66 goals, and sophomore Henry Fox is second on the squad with 51 goals. Junior goalkeeper Walter Shockley has anchored the defense with 139 saves in 393 minutes in net.
Harvard will take nine days off before traveling to New York City to play its final two games of the regular season against St. Francis and Mercyhurst.