No. 11 Men’s Water Polo Eyes NWPC Championship with Win Over No. 12 Princeton

No. 11 Men’s Water Polo Eyes NWPC Championship with Win Over No. 12 Princeton

Junior Colin Chiapello recorded a hat trick in the win over No. 12 Princeton (Paul Rutherford).

PRINCETON, N.J
. – The No. 11 Harvard men's water polo team took down No. 12 Princeton, 14-13, in the Northeast Water Polo Conference Championship semifinal on Saturday afternoon. The Crimson will now face No. 10 Brown in the NWPC Championship tomorrow at noon.

Harvard started the NWPC Championship tournament with a 14-8 win over MIT. The Crimson has now won eight of its last nine games, including the last three. Harvard split the season series with Brown at 1-1, as the Bears earned a victory in the first meeting, 9-7, on Oct. 8, while the Crimson won the second contest with a 9-8 overtime win on Oct. 29.

The Crimson took the lead in the early goings, taking a 3-2 advantage over Princeton after the first frame. Senior Noah Harrison, junior Colin Chiapello and freshman Charlie Owens each found the back of the net to give Harvard the one-goal advantage.

Harrison and Chiapello both added two more goals in the second frame as Harvard scored five total goals. Princeton, however, matched the five scores and it remained a one-goal game with the Crimson in front, 8-7, at the half.

The two teams continued to match the other in the second half, each scoring three goals in the third quarter and trading the lead throughout the fourth. A Harvard goal from senior captain Joey Colton made it 13-13 with under two minutes to play.

Colton followed that up with the go-ahead score with less than minute remaining, and a late steal from the stingy Crimson defense secured a 14-13 win and an NWPC Championship appearance.

Seniors Dan Stevens and Viktor Wrobel, junior captain Harry Tafur, sophomore Nathan Ondracek and freshman Charlie Owens all recorded a goal to go along with four from Harrison, three from Chiapello and the final two from Colton.

Harrison led Harvard with three helpers, while Tafur and Colton added a pair, each. Harrison also led the defensive efforts with three steals and four field blocks.

Sophomore goaltender Anthony Ridgley had 10 stops in net while dishing out an assist of his own.

Harvard has a chance to clinch a spot in the NCAA Championships, as well as the first ever NWPC title, with a win over Brown tomorrow.