Third-Seeded Men's Water Polo Travels to Northern Championships

Third-Seeded Men's Water Polo Travels to Northern Championships

Noah Harrison is among the team leaders in goals, assists and steals (Photo coutesy: Justine Agaloos). 

Scene Setter
Harvard travels to Rhode Island for the Collegiate Water Polo Association Northern Championships as the third seed in the tournament. The Crimson is looking to make a return trip to the CWPA Eastern Championships in two weeks, and it can do just that with a win in its opening game against Fordham Saturday.

Seeding the Field
Brown enters the tournament as the number one overall seed by virtue of its 6-0 mark in CWPA Northern Division play this season. St. Francis and Harvard both finished the year at 4-2 in conference; however, the Terriers own the tiebreaker due to their head-to-head win against the Crimson to earn the second seed. Harvard is the third seed followed by Iona, MIT, Fordham and Connecticut College.

Schedule of Events

Saturday, November 3

Game 1

9:30 a.m.

No. 4 Iona vs. No. 5 MIT

Game 2

11:00 a.m.

No. 2 St. Francis vs. No. 7 Connecticut College

Game 3

12:30 p.m.

No. 3 Harvard vs. No. 6 Fordham

Game 4

3:00 p.m.

Loser Game 1 vs. Loser Game 2

Game 5

4:30 p.m.

No. 1 Brown vs. Winner Game 1

Game 6

6:00 p.m.

Winner Game 2 vs. Winner Game 3

Game 7

7:30 p.m.

Loser Game 3 vs. Loser Game 2

Sunday, November 4

Game 8

9:00 a.m.

Loser Game 3 vs. Loser Game 1

Game 9

10:30 a.m.

Loser Game 5 vs. Loser Game 6

Game 10

12:00 p.m.

Winner Game 5 vs. Winner Game 6

About the Tournament
The CWPA Northern Division Championships will send four teams on to play in the Eastern Division Championship in two weeks. Top-seeded Brown is already guaranteed a place at Easterns due to its first-round bye. The other six teams are left fighting for the three remaining spots, and a win in the first game of the tournament will send the team to Easterns, while a loss in the opener means the season will draw to a close at the end of the Northern Tournament.

Last Time Out
Harvard traveled to Princeton, N.J. for the Ivy Championships and ended the tournament with a 1-1 mark. The Crimson topped Penn in the opener, 21-15, behind a career-high five goals from junior co-captain Will Roller. In its second game against No. 12 Brown, the Bears stormed out of the gates and went on to win, 19-5. Junior Jimmy Field paced the team with three goals. The Crimson was slated to play in the third-place game, but it was cancelled due to Hurricane Sandy.

Last Year at Northerns
Harvard made the cross-city trip to MIT as the sixth seed in the tournament. In the opener, the Crimson squared off with the host and third-seeded Engineers and prevailed, 11-10, to return to Easterns for the first time since 2007. In the semifinals, Harvard fell to Brown, 18-9, before finishing in fourth place after losing to Iona, 13-11.

Lucky Number Seven
Robbie Fluegge won Harvard's seventh CWPA Northern Division Rookie of the Week honor this week for his performance at the Ivy Championships. In the opener against Penn, he established two new career highs with four goals and four steals while adding a steal against Brown. Fluegge is also the fourth different member of the Class of 2016 to win the honor, joining teammates Noah Harrison (Sept. 3, Oct. 8), Blake Lee (Sept. 24, Oct. 22) and Ben Zepfel (Sept. 17, Oct. 15).

Racking up the Awards
In addition to the seven Rookie of the Week awards, Harvard has also claimed a Player of the Week and a Defensive Player of the Week nod to bring its season total to nine honors. Noah Harrison was named the CWPA Northern Division Player of the Week for Oct. 8, while Jimmy Field won the Defensive Player of the Week award for Sept. 24.

Freshmen Phenoms
Harvard's seven-man freshmen class had made an immediate impact in the pool for the Crimson. The group has accounted for 59.6 percent of goals (176/295), 55.4 percent of assists (107/193), 58.6 percent of steals (163/278) and 48.7 percent of saves (132/271). Rookie Ben Zepfel leads the team in goals (60) and is third in steals (27), while Blake Lee has the most assists (44) and steals (53) and ranks second in goals (52). Noah Harrison is second in steals (47) and third in goals (43) and assists (26), and Robbie Fluegge has contributed 17 goals, 15 assists and 23 steals. In goal, Colin Woolway has stopped 132 shots.

Raising the Bar
With Harvard's win against Penn, the Crimson established a new high-water mark for wins in a season under third-year head coach Ted Minnis. Harvard has now won 13 games this season, besting the 12 wins the squad had in Minnis' inaugural season in 2010. Minnis is also the head coach of the women's water polo team at Harvard and has guided them to 17 wins in both of his seasons at the helm.

About Fordham
It will be the second meeting of the season between the Rams and Crimson when the pair square off at 12:30 p.m. Saturday after Harvard won the opener, 12-7, at Blodgett Pool. Will Roller led a balanced offensive attack with a hat trick, and Ben Zepfel, John Holland-McCowan and Noah Harrison all had two goals in the win. On the season, the Rams have relied on their defense to earn their six wins, allowing opponents less than 10 goals in all but one of their victories this year. Netminder Noah LeBeau has made 171 saves in 69 quarters this season, and he also has contributed 24 steals and six assists.