Men's Water Polo Wins Eastern Championship and Claims NCAA Bid
CAMBRIDGE, Mass. (11/20/11) -- The 19th-ranked Princeton men's water polo team captured its second CWPA Eastern Championship in the past two seasons with a 10-7 win over Navy on Sunday afternoon. Princeton never trailed in the win as the Tigers claim the CWPA's bid to the NCAA championships held in two weeks at Cal.
Drew Hoffenberg led the Tigers with three goals scored in the win and was joined by seven single-goal scorers. Princeton scored three goals in the first quarter while limiting Navy to one. The Midshipmen had the only goal of the second quarter to trim Princeton's halftime lead to a single goal at 3-2.
Navy drew even to start the third quarter but Princeton answered with a four-goal run to erase any doubt. Chris Cottrell started the run and it was extended on counter goals from Tommy Donahue and Sam Butler. Kayj Shannon pushed the lead to four goals with a man-up goal late in the period. Navy would outscore the Tigers 4-3 in the final period, but it was not enough to overcome the lead as Princeton earned the win.
Ben Dearborn stymied Navy in goal with 14 saves in the game. His performance included five saves in the momentum-shifting third quarter that saw Princeton take an insurmountable four-goal lead.
Princeton's last Eastern Championship came two seasons ago with a win over Navy. Just like this season, Princeton fell to Navy in the Southern Championships game that season, but avenged the loss in the Eastern title game.
At the tournament's conclusion, three Tigers were selected to the Eastern All-Tournament Team. Dearborn and Hoffenberg were named to the first team while Wenzlau was a second-team selection. Hoffenberg was the named the tournament's Most Valuable Player, as well as the Rookie of the Tournament. Head coach Luis Nicolao was named the Dick Russell Eastern Coach of the Tournament.
Princeton will now advance to the National Collegiate Championships in two weekends. It will be Princeton's fourth NCAA appearance and second in the last three seasons. Princeton's previous NCAA appearances came in 1992, 2004 and 2009. Princeton's best finish of third came in 2009 when the event was held at Princeton's DeNunzio Pool.
Princeton 3 0 4 3 - 10
Navy 1 1 1 4 - 7
Goals: Hoffenberg 3, Butler 1, Cottrell 1, Donahue 1, Nelson 1, Shannon 1, Weber 1, Wenzlau 1
Assists: Buchbinder 1, Butler 1, Dearborn 1, Wenzlau 1
Saves: Dearborn 14 (32:00)