Men's Water Polo Kicks Off Conference Play with 4-0 Start

Tiana A Abdulmassih

Freshman 2-meter Ben Zepfel was a consistent offensive threat for the Harvard men’s water polo team over the weekend, scoring 12 goals in four Crimson victories. The rookie scored four goals in a 13-12 win over MIT on Friday and followed up with five scores on Saturday and three on Sunday.

The last time Harvard men’s water polo won six consecutive games, Class of 2016 attackers Ben Zepfel, Blake Lee, and Noah Harrison were probably studying their multiplication tables.

A young Harvard men’s water polo team completed an historic weekend sweep Sunday to open CWPA conference play. With four wins in three days, the Crimson (9-5) earned its first six-game winning streak since 2002.

“Our goal going into this weekend was to go 4-0,” Harvard coach Ted Minnis said following the Crimson’s 11-3 win over Iona Saturday night.

A core of talented freshmen helped propel Harvard to a hard-fought away victory over MIT (4-6) on Friday night, and the Crimson carried the momentum into a Saturday double-header for a pair of home wins against Fordham (1-10) and Iona (1-8). Harvard rounded out the sweep Sunday at Connecticut College, winning 14-9.

Minnis was pleased with the manner in which the Crimson controlled the pace of its games.

“We’re working very hard on the defensive end, not chasing after goals and letting the offense come,” Minnis said.

HARVARD 14, CONNECTICUT COLLEGE 9

The Crimson buried the Camels early in a Sunday matinee at Connecticut College’s Jane Cadwell Lott Natatorium. Harvard scored the first four goals of the game to coast to a sixth consecutive win.

Zepfel tallied his fourth hat trick of the winning streak, and fellow freshman attacker Harrison also chipped in three goals. On defense, freshman Lee led the Crimson with four steals. Freshman goalie Colin Woolway made nine saves.

Connecticut College is now 0-17 against Harvard all-time.

HARVARD 11, IONA 3

In the second game of Saturday’s home double-header, the Crimson recorded a season-high 17 steals to stifle the Iona attack.

The Gaels managed only 14 shots on goal, while Harvard’s Zepfel and sophomore attacker Max Murphy earned hat tricks, and Lee had a team-leading four picks. Junior goalie Jimmy Field made 11 saves.

“Overall, our defense is looking really good,” Murphy said. “We’re shutting teams down, and that’s what we wanted to work on [and] wanted to improve on the most.”

The Crimson held Iona scoreless in the second half save a late fourth quarter goal.

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