Sports » Men's Water Polo | Sept. 16
The No. 15 men’s water polo team opened its season strong this weekend, with four victories in four games to win the Princeton Invitational Tournament. The team’s first game was Friday evening against now-No. 18 Santa Clara, which the Tigers eked out, 9-7. The next game was an exhibition against Penn, which Princeton won 12-9, and Saturday evening the Tigers defeated rival Harvard by a large margin, 14-7. On Sunday, Princeton completed the sweep, downing Iona 11-6.
The Santa Clara (2-2) contest provided ESPNU viewers with plenty of excitement. Santa Clara scored within the first 40 seconds, but Princeton (4-0) scored two goals in the next minute. By the end of the first period, the score was tied at 3-3. The Broncos took a 5-3 lead in the second period, but the Tigers equalized it at 5-5 by the end of the first half. The tying goal was scored by freshman utility Jovan Jeremic. Santa Clara charged ahead in the third period, which ended with the Broncos ahead 7-6 despite a phenomenal no-look goal from sophomore center Tommy Nelson.
In the fourth, Princeton scored two goals within a minute and 10 seconds to permanently take the lead, and scored another one later to secure the victory 9-7. Sophomore goalie Alex Gow kept the Tigers afloat with nine saves, while Nelson led the team with three goals.
Against Penn, the Tigers again gave up a very early goal. The Quakers kept pace with the Tigers and the second quarter ended 5-5, but Princeton took a 9-7 lead in the third period and never let go. The Tigers pushed their lead to 12-7 in the fourth period, and though Penn scored two goals at the end, the Tigers held on 12-9.
The Crimson never really threatened the Tigers, as Princeton led 4-3 by the end of the first half and never looked back. In the second period, Princeton scored another four goals and held Harvard to two. The Tigers did even better in the third period, scoring four again and letting in only one from Harvard. In the fourth, the Tigers scored two and Harvard one, for a final score of 14-7.
Junior attacker Drew Hoffenberg contributed five goals as Princeton showcased its offensive prowess, while Jeremic, freshman utility Curtis Fink, sophomore utility Jamie Kuprenas and junior center Kayj Shannon scored two goals. Senior Ben Dearborn made 12 saves in goal.
The Tigers rode that momentum into the next day’s match with Iona — this time, it was Shannon who scored five times, helped out by two goals, two steals and two assists from Nelson and four steals from junior attacker Sam Butler. Gow added 12 blocks and a steal.
The sweep at home put the Tigers in the best possible position as they head into a stretch of 10 straight away games. Princeton will travel to Maryland to face Johns Hopkins and No. 18 Navy and then visit George Washington before playing seven games in California.