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The Harvard Water Polo team will battle Army this afternoon in the first step to a hoped-for first-place finish in the single elimination Eastern NCAA Regionals this weekend at Yale.
The third-seeded Crimson will be fighting seven other teams for one spot in the all-important NCAA Water Polo Championships to be held during Thanksgiving week in Albuquerque, New Mexico.
The undefeated Elis, and Fordham, which has lost only to Yale, are playing number one and number two seed.
The Crimson crushed Army, 17-1, on October 24, but the rematch today will be a much closer contest, Captain Mike Graff said yesterday. According to Graff, the Army team was "down" at the October 24 game because it had just lost a close game to Yale. "They will be really up for us." Graff predicted, "We might be looking past them."
The Crimson earned their spot in the Regionals with a sweep of last weekend's New England Championships at MIT. Graff explained that, unfortunately, a crucial injury to his shoulder in the final game against Brown may hurt the team's chances. He will play since a doctor told him yesterday that he will probably not hurt himself "severely."
Eight Make All-New England
A poll of the regional water polo coaches named four players to the all-New England first team and four to the second team. Forwards Peter Kellogg, Peter Harsh, and Dan Daiss, as well as Graff, were chosen for the first squad, while Doug Forrester, Phil Jonchkeer Fred Mitchell, and Tracy Mallory were picked for the second team.
Seeded after Harvard in the tournament this weekend, in descending order, are Brown Bucknell, Army, MIT, and Northeastern. Harvard has beaten all of the teams competing except Yale, Bucknell, when they haven't played, and Fordham, who beat the Crimson, 7-4.
Graff expects Harvard to carry the Regionals, though he admitted that Harvard would have made chance for the NCAA water polo championship in New Mexico. That eight-game tournament will probably include water polo powers like UCLA, Berkerley, and Stanford, he added. P>According to Graff, the Crimson is the only club team participating in the Regionals. Unlike Harvard, Graff explained, the other seven schools have varsity teams.
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