This weekend the No. 15 men’s water polo team will play its final three regular season games of the season, taking on George Washington, Fordham and Iona at home. The team played George Washington and Iona earlier in the season, winning both games by an average of 4.5 goals.
The Tigers (14-4 overall, 6-1 Southern Division) are coming off an incredible Ivy League Championship victory last weekend. The Tigers defeated Penn 20-15 in the semifinals before facing Brown in the championship game. Princeton was behind for most of the game but staged an amazing late-game rally to win the game 13-12. Sophomore Thomas Nelson scored the go-ahead goal at the end of that game.
“The final game against Brown was close … Neither team was able to jump out to a significant lead, so we felt that we were right with them the entire game,” junior attackman Drew Hoffenberg, who leads the Tigers with 46 goals, said. “When the final whistle blew, we were just happy that our defense was able to hold strong and win us the game that came down to the final possession, especially a game against a good team like Brown.”
Although the Ivy Championship was a great win for the Tigers, they must now focus on the final stretch of the season. The first game of the weekend is against George Washington. Princeton emerged victorious from its first encounter of the season, defeating the Colonials 9-5. After the George Washington game, the Tigers will take on Fordham, whom they have not seen this season. Finally, the Tigers will take on Iona, whom they faced in the Princeton Invitational at the start of the season. Princeton won that game 11-6.
“All three teams are very solid — however, besides the game against GW, they don’t have playoff implications,” Hoffenberg said. George Washington is the only conference opponent of the three, so the game against the Colonials will affect Princeton’s seeding in the playoff tournaments. “This means that we will use the games to work on our offense and fine tune our man-advantage in order to get ready for the Eastern Championship tournament.”
The Tigers are looking to continue their momentum through the end of the season, especially after last week’s thriller.
“I think that the biggest take away from [the Ivy League Championship] was realizing that we can win a close game,” Hoffenberg said. “This was our first game this year that has come down to the final possession. Knowing we can close out a game — especially a game in which we were playing from behind for the majority of it — will help us tremendously come playoffs.”