Women's Water Polo Heads to CWPA Championship at Bucknell

Women's Water Polo Heads to CWPA Championship at Bucknell

Scene Setter
The Harvard women's water polo team earned the at-large bid to the 2014 Collegiate Water Polo Championships at Bucknell University. Harvard enters the weekend as the No. 7 seed and will face No. 2 Princeton at 1:30 p.m. in its first game of the weekend.

Watch It Live!
The Collegiate Water Polo Association will stream the championships April 25-27 at Bucknell University. The cost is $10 per game and $25 for the entire weekend. Subscribers can watch matches both live and on-demand at their convenience, and will have access to content for up to one year following the conclusion of the tournament.


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Seeding the Field
1. Indiana University (19-5)
2. Princeton University (29-1)
3. Hartwick College (20-12)
4. University of Michigan (19-12)
5. Brown University (18-15)
6. Bucknell University (12-12)
7. Harvard University (14-18)
8. Connecticut College (15-7)

Schedule of Events
For the complete schedule, please click here.

2013 Eastern Championships
One season ago, Harvard traveled to Ann Arbor, Mich., as the tournament's sixth seed.  The Crimson roared out of the gates in the opener to defeat Notre Dame (Ohio), 15-4, before falling behind early against Hartwick en route to a 20-6 setback at the hands of the Hawks. Harvard cruised past George Washington, 11-9, to earn a spot in the fifth-place game, where the Crimson fell to Brown, 18-9, to finish sixth.

Princeton edged the University of Michigan, 7-5, in the title game, as the Tigers earned an automatic berth to the NCAA tournament for the second consecutive year.

Scouting Report: Princeton
Princeton, which is fresh off its third consecutive Southern Division crown, is having a record-breaking year. The Tigers enter the weekend riding a 14-game win streak, the longest in program history, while boasting a 29-1 overall record, which matches the 2012 team for most wins in program history. The Tiger's lone loss came at the hands of then-No. 10 San Jose State on March 15. More recently, Princeton cruised past George Washington, Harvard and Brown en route to its ninth Southern Division title since 1997. 

Princeton's offense is paced by senior Katie Rigler who has buried a team-high 62 goals, while Ashley Hatcher (48 goals), Dina Murphy (44 goals), Molly McBee (44 goals) and Jessie Holecheck (36 goals) round out the top scorers. Ashleigh Johnson owns a .720 save percentage (130/334) in net for the Tigers.

All-Time Against the Tigers
Harvard trails Princeton, 34-11, in a series that dates back to 1984. In the fourth meeting of the season, the Crimson will look to snap a nine year, 18-game losing streak against the Tigers. In the most recent meeting between the two programs, Harvard fell behind early and was unable to recover as the Crimson dropped a 14-3 decision to the Tigers.

Last Time Out
Harvard finished fourth at the Collegiate Water Polo Association Southern Division Championships to earn the first ever at-large bid to the CWPA Championship, going 1-2 in the two-day tournament. The Crimson opened the weekend with a 12-3 win over George Washington with four different student-athletes finding the back of the net twice.

In the second game, Shayna Price netted two goals and recorded three steals, but it wasn't enough as Harvard fell to Princeton, 13-4 to drop to the third-place game. The Crimson then dropped a hard-fought, 9-6, decision to Bucknell to finish fourth. Yoshi Andersen tallied her 11th hat trick of the year in the loss.

Related Link: Women's Water Polo Downs George Washington, 12-3, Falls to Princeton, 13-4
Related Link: Women's Water Polo Falls to Bucknell, 9-6, in CWPA Southern Division Third-Place Game

Share the Wealth
Ten Crimson student-athletes have reached double-figure scoring, while 14 of the 15 members of the squad have recorded at least one goal. Yoshi Andersen leads the Crimson in goals with 69, while Shayna Price isn't too far behind with 51 scores. Melissa Balding has chipped in 35 goals, while Michelle Martinelli has buried 34 goals.

Fantastic Four
Senior co-captain Shayna Price, sophomore Yoshi Andersen and rookies Michelle Martinelli and Melissa Balding headline the Crimson offense. The quartet of attackers has combined for 189 of Harvard's 314 goals (.601).

Hat Trick Heroes
Harvard has notched 29 hat tricks this season with Yoshi Andersen contributing 11, while Shayna Price has eight and Melissa Balding has registered four.  Jelena Cyr and Alexis Del Toro each have two games with three tallies to their credit this season and Charlotte Hendrix and Michelle Martinelli have one three-plus goal performances this season.

Top of the Class
Harvard's freshmen class has jumped out of the gates to make an immediate impact in 2014. The group has accounted for 35.3 percent of goals (111/314), 37.6 percent of assists (72/191) and 33.9 percent of steals (94/277). Melissa Balding leads all first-year players with 35 goals, while Michelle Martinelli (34) and Alexis Del Toro (24) are right behind. Zoe Osborne has chipped in 11 goals and Jillian Dukes has added four scores. Del Toro leads her class with 18 assists and Martinelli has recorded 22 steals, while Osborne has 21 thefts to her credit.

Rackin' Up the Awards
The Crimson has won 10 CWPA weekly awards this season. Most Recently, Melissa Balding was tabbed Rookie of the Week. Balding leads all rookies with four CWPA weekly awards (March 10, 17, 31), while Del Toro brought the honor to Cambridge twice (Feb. 25, March 17) and Michelle Martinelli was honored once (Feb. 4). Yoshi Andersen (Feb. 4), Jelena Cyr (Feb. 11) were each tabbed Player of the Week, while Ariel Dukes earned Defensive Player of the Week nods (March 31).

Related Link:
Balding Earns Fourth CWPA Southern Division Rookie of the Week Award

Movin' On Up
In his fourth season at the helm of the Harvard program, head coach Ted Minnis surpassed former head coach Erik Farrar (2005-10) and Jim Flerchinger (2000-03) to become the third winningest coach in program history with a 65-59 record. Minnis needs one more wins to move ahead of head coach Maureen Travers (1993-1997) who owns a 66-38 record while at Harvard.

Up Next
The winner of the CWPA Eastern Championships will earn an automatic berth into the NCAA Championships, which will be held at the Uytengsu Aquatics Center on the campus of the University of Southern California May 9-11.