No. 15 Men's Water Polo Wins NEWPC Championship, Moves on to NCAA Tournament

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. - In front of a packed Blodgett Pool on Sunday afternoon, the No. 15 Harvard men's water polo team defeated No. 13 Princeton in sudden-death overtime, 12-11, to earn its second-straight NEWPC Conference title and a trip to the NCAA Tournament. Freshman Dennis Blyashov netted the game-winning goal in the sudden-death overtime period. 

The Tigers struck first in the beginning quarter and took a 5-1 lead after six minutes of play. Blyashov netted his second goal of the night to inch the Crimson back into the competiton. With 2:32 left in the first, Harvard was down, 5-2. Heading into halftime, Princeton commanded an 8-4 lead over Harvard. 

With four minutes left in the fourth quarter, the Crimson was down, 10-8, and battled for every possession. A power play goal from sophomore Charlie Owens brought the Crimson back within one before scoring the game-tying 10th goal with 52 seconds left in regulation. In overtime, Harvard netted its 11th goal when senior captain Harry Tafur shot the ball and struck first in overtime. Princeton followed up, forcing a sudden-death overtime. 

In sudden-death overtime, Blyashov evaded a Princeton defender to shoot the ball just inside the far post for the game-winner. Harvard defeated Princeton, 12-11.

Harvard Highlights

  • Freshman Dennis Blyashov netted four goals for the Crimson, including the game-winner in sudden-death overtime.
  • Blyashov was named Rookie and Player of the Tournament, while The Friends of Harvard Water Polo head coach Ted Minnis was named Coach of the Tournament. 

Game Notes:

  • This is Harvard's second NEWPC Tournament title in a row, with the Crimson winning in 2016 and now in 2017. 

What's Next?

Harvard hosts George Washington on Saturday, Nov. 25 in a play-in game of the NCAA Tournament. The winner of Harvard vs. George Washington advances to play Southern California on Thursday, Nov. 30.