No. 9 Men’s Water Polo Secures Automatic Bid in NCAA Tournament with NWPC Championship Win

Harvard Men's Water Polo are the 2019 NWPC Champions

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – The No. 9 Harvard men's water polo team (29-0, 10-0 NWPC) defeated No. 19 Princeton (16-15, 6-2 NWPC) 8-7 to secure its third NWPC championship in four years. Head coach Ted Minnis has also earned his 200th career win with the NWPC title. NCAA brackets will be released on Nov. 25 at 12 a.m.

Junior Jackson Enright and sophomore Alex Tsotadze powered the offense for the Crimson, scoring two goals each. Sophomore Michael Sonsini once again led the team in assists with three. Sophomore goalie Noah Hodge made 13 saves to hold the Princeton Tigers to only seven goals.

Hodge made three-straight saves to start the match while the Crimson got on the board first to take the 1-0 lead. Princeton would fight back to tie the match each time Harvard scored, bringing play to a 2-2 tie after the first quarter. Princeton would score two-straight goals to take the 4-2 lead but Harvard would answer back with two of its own to tie the match up at four. With time expiring in the second quarter, first-year Alexandru Bucur beat the Princeton goalie to give the Crimson the 5-4 lead entering the half.

Princeton would begin the second half with two-straight tallies for the 6-5 lead. However, Harvard would not give up, finding the back of the net to tie the match up once again. The Tigers would score first in the fourth quarter for the 7-6 lead and that would be the last time that Princeton led in the match. A successful penalty shot by Tsotadze would earn the Crimson its 8-7 victory and its third NWPC title in four years.

Harvard Highlights

  • The NWPC championship win marks head coach Ted Minnis' 200th career win with the Harvard men's water polo program.
  • Harvard's 29-0 season marks the first time a team from the NWPC has gone undefeated through the regular season and the NWPC Tournament.
  • The Class of 2019 is the winningest class in program history with a total of 108 wins over the past four years.
  • Hodge has now totaled 243 saves this season, fourth all-time in single-season saves in program history.
  • Sonsini has tallied 63 assists this season, third all-time in single-season assists in program history.
  • During the NWPC Tournament, head coach Ted Minnis, first-year Alexandru Bucur and sophomore Noah Hodge were named Coach of the Tournament, Rookie of the Tournament and MVP of the Tournament, respectively.
  • Hodge, seniors Charlie Owens and Austin Sechrest and junior Dennis Blyashov were named to the All-Tournament First Team.
  • Sophomore Alex Tsotadze was named to the All-Tournament Second Team while junior Jackson Enright received All-Tournament Honorable Mention.

Up Next
The Crimson will continue its post-season run with the first round of the NCAA Tournament. The match is set to take place on Nov. 30 at 12:30 p.m. against No. 13 Bucknell at Blodgett Pool.