Men's Water Polo Salvages Seventh-Place Finish at CWPA Eastern Championship

Water Polo
Robert F Worley

The Harvard men's water polo team split its two-game slate this weekend, besting Connecticut College but falling to Brown.

Two weeks after reaching the championship game of the CWPA Northern Division tournament, the Harvard men’s water polo team (22-10, 7-4 CWPA) travelled to Annapolis, Md., to end the season at the CWPA Eastern Championship. Despite a No. 18 national ranking, the Crimson dropped matches to Navy and Johns Hopkins before salvaging seventh place with a victory over George Washington.     

“Although it’s not where we wanted to end up, it always feels much better to end the season with a win,” junior 2-meter Ben Zepfel said. “We just…tried to have as much fun as we could playing together one last time.”


With 5:13 remaining in the seventh-place game against the Colonials (13-15, 1-7), Harvard held a 13-8 advantage, it largest lead of the match. An offensive onslaught cut this margin to one, but the Crimson would hold firm in the waning minutes to preserve the win.   

“We really wanted to win to end our season on a good note,” junior goalie Colin Woolway said. “At the same time, we were able to play pretty freely and loosely knowing that it wasn’t a semifinal [or a] championship game.”


Zepfel, who lead the team with 59 goals on the season, finished with five scores in the game. In the first quarter, he gave Harvard a 2-0 lead with a pair of goals separated by just more than a minute.

The Crimson held a lead until the final whistle, but until the fourth quarter, George Washington never fell behind by more than three goals.

The Colonials Bogdan Petkovic provided his team’s offense throughout the game, finishing the game with six goals on nine shots and an assist. In the last three minutes of the fourth quarter, with George Washington still mounting a frantic rally, he scored two goals.   


The scoreboard seemed to come from a nightmare.

After the Blue Jays (14-12) scored with 2:06 left in the second quarter, Harvard stared at a 5-0 deficit, and would end the half with a score of 5-1. While the Crimson would fight back with four second half scores, Johns Hopkins never surrendered the lead en route to a 10-5 win.  

“The game against Johns Hopkins was one of the unluckiest we’ve played in a while,” Zepfel said. “We managed to get a lot of great opportunities, but we were having a really tough time putting our shots away.”

Despite outshooting the Blue Jays 32 to 28, Harvard finished with its lowest goal total of the season. Sophomore 2-meter defender Dan Stevens and junior attacker Blake Lee both tallied two scores.

The Crimson offense seemed on the verge of a breakthrough early in the second half when the team scored in the first forty seconds of play. Fifteen seconds later, Johns Hopkins responded with a goal of its own.



Recommended Articles