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No. 20 Men's Water Polo to Host Eastern Championship This Weekend

Courtesy: Princeton Athletic Communications                                                                      Release: 11/14/2012
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Courtesy: Beverly Schaefer
Senior co-captain Billy Tifft and the Tigers host Easterns this weekend.
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2012 CWPA Eastern Championship
Nov. 16-18 DeNunzio Pool Princeton, N.J.
No. 20 Princeton (15-11) vs. No. 14 Brown (27-3)
  Game Info:
First Round • Friday, Nov. 16 at 1 p.m.
Last Meeting:
Brown won 10-9 on Sept. 15 in Cambridge, Mass.
Live Media:
Live Video ($)

@PUTIGERS l @Pwaterpolo
Tournament Field: CWPA Bracket
Tickets: $25 for a weekend pass or $10 per day
Princeton Affiliate Tickets: All Princeton students/faculty/staff: $10 for a weekend pass or $5 per day

The No. 20 Princeton men's water polo team is ready to lay it all on the line in hopes of earning a berth to the NCAA Championship Final Four this weekend at the 2012 Collegiate Water Polo Association (CWPA) Eastern Championship. The tournament runs from Nov. 16-18 and is hosted at DeNunzio Pool. The reigning Eastern champions enter the conference tournament as the third seed in the Southern Division and will face No. 2 seed Brown of the Northern Division to open the tournament on Friday at 1 p.m.

Competing at Easterns, representing the Northern Division (listed by seed): St. Francis, Brown, MIT and Harvard. From the Southern Division (listed by seed): Bucknell, Mercyhurst, Princeton and Navy.

The Tigers (15-11, 5-3 Southern) are coming off a third-place finish at Southerns on Nov. 4. Princeton easily topped opening round opponents Notre Dame College, 16-7, and Penn State Behrend, 13-7, to win its bracket, but was unable to carry that momentum into the semifinals versus Mercyhurst. Despite taking a 10-8 lead in the third quarter, the Lakers rallied back with a 4-1 run in the fourth to win 12-11 and advance to the championship game.

In the third-place matchup, Princeton faced top-seeded Navy for the third time this year. After falling twice to the Midshipmen in the regular season, the Tigers employed a first half 8-3 run to hold off the then-No. 14 ranked Mids and win 10-7.

Entering this weekend, Princeton is led by sophomore Drew Hoffenberg's team-leading 61 goals and 62 steals. The attacker also has drawn 55 ejections and dished 32 assists over 26 games played. Defensively, freshman Alex Gow has taken over goaltending duties for the Tigers. Gow (8-7) has 166 saves, 19 steals, six assists and a .494 saves percentage over 20 games played.

Princeton is vying for its third Eastern crown in the last four years and will faceoff with 14th-ranked Brown in the first round. The Bears (27-3) are coming off a second-place finish at the Northern Division Championship on Nov. 4. Both squads have met once this season, with Brown edging past Princeton, 10-9, on Sept. 15 at the North-South Invite. The Bear offense is led by Svetozar Stefanovic's 107 goals, 61 steals and 21 assists heading into the conference championship. Stefanovic is 107-for-147 in shot attempts over 31 games played. In the cage, Walker Shockley has started and played in 29 games, tallying 227 saves, 28 steals and 13 assists. He has allowed 234 goals against and has a .490 saves percentage.

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