Men's Water Polo to Face Stiff Competition at ECAC Championships

Photo of John Kolb courtesy

Complete ECAC Championships Schedule

Weekend Festivities:
The Harvard men’s water polo team travels to Princeton, N.J., for the second-straight weekend to compete in the ECAC Championships. In its first game, the Crimson will take on No. 8 seed George Washington Sept. 18 at 9:15 p.m. The two teams met last weekend at the Princeton Invitational with the Crimson earning a 12-7 win. The winner of this contest will take on Navy Sept. 19 at 11:30 a.m. Harvard is guaranteed at least three games throughout the weekend.

The More, the Merrier:
The 2009 ECAC Championships marks the first year with a field of 10 teams. Coaches voted to expand the field from eight to 10 at the annual meeting. Teams are seeded based on their finish at the 2008 ECAC Championships or the Northern and Southern Division Championships.

About Harvard:
Harvard enters the weekend as the No. 9 seed in the tournament, carrying a 2-6 record. Junior co-captain Bret Voith paces the Crimson with 12 goals while senior co-captain Egen Atkinson and junior Alex Thompson are also in double figures in goals with 10. Defensively, senior Nikhil Balaraman has made 26 saves and sophomore Alexandre Popp has 27 saves to his credit this season. The Crimson boasts the Northern Division Rookie of the Week, Max Eliot, who scored four goals last weekend at the Princeton Invitational.

Scouting the Field:
The nine other participating institutions, by seed, are Navy, Princeton, Brown, Bucknell, Johns Hopkins, MIT, Fordham, George Washington and Connecticut College. Harvard has faced four of the other teams competing: George Washington, Princeton, Fordham and, most recently, MIT.

Navy boasts a 6-4 record with wins over UC San Diego, Mercyhurst and Johns Hopkins. Princeton comes in carrying a 1-3 record with its only win coming against the Crimson. The Tigers have dropped close games to Brown and Santa Clara. Brown enters the weekend with a 5-2 record with victories over Redlands, Bucknell and Princeton. Bucknell arrives in Princeton, N.J. with a 4-4 record, including wins over Fordham, MIT and Iona. George Washington boasts a 2-7 record by beating Mercyhurst and Queens.

Last Time Out:
The Crimson earned a 9-6 victory over the Engineers of MIT in the home opener. Bret Voith, Alex Thompson and Egen Atkinson each found the back of the net twice. Jeff Lee, Luka Babic and Evan Zepfel all tallied a goal to round out the scoring. Between the pipes, net minder Nikhil Balaraman played solid defense, making nine saves on the night.

Up Next:
Harvard will travel to New York to take on Queens in a Collegiate Water Polo Association match-up Sept. 26. The game is slated to begin at 5:00 pm.