CAMBRIDGE, Mass. -- Player of the Game Kyle Wertz (Sr., San Diego, Calif./Westlake) scored six goals in the first half to help No. 15 Navy deep-six Harvard University 20-5 in the opening round of the 2011 Collegiate Water Polo Association (CWPA) Eastern Championship at Harvard University's Blodgett Pool.
With the win, the Midshipmen advance to meet the winner of a first round game between Brown University and Bucknell University at 6:00 p..m. in the tournament semifinals, while Harvard will face the loser of the Bears-Bison clash at 3:00 p.m. in the consolation bracket with a berth in the fifth place game on the line.
Navy, seeking the program's 10th Eastern Championship after previously taking the 1986-88, 1990, 2000, 2003 and 2006-08 crowns, scored early and often against the Crimson putting up five goals in the first, seven in the second and four in both the third and fourth periods to handle Harvard for the second time this year after picking up a 10-8 victory during the regular season.
Overall, eight different Midshipmen found the back of the cage as Stevie Ray (Sr., Baytown, Texas/Ross S. Sterling) and Paul Pedrotty (Jr., Coronado, Calif./Coronado) hung four and three goals on the Crimson, with Conor Handley (Sr., Naperville, Ill./Naperville North), Jack Finch (Fr., San Mateo, Calif./Menlo School), Arny Warren (Sr., Baltimore, Md./Calvert Hall College), Archie Warren (Jr., Baltimore, Md./Calvert Hall College) and Tommy Schofer (So., Coronado, Calif./Coronado) also connecting on shots.
The Midshipmen started the game in an early hole as Max Eliot (Jr., Studio City, Calif./Harvard-Westlake) beat Navy starting goalie Anthony Gutierrez (Jr., Long Beach, Calif./Long Beach Poly) 57 seconds into the game, but the Mids responded with a man-up marker by Wertz eluded Harvard goalie Alexandre Popp (Sr., Palo Alto, Calif./Menlo-Atherton) at 5:39.
Navy proceeded to go on a 4-0 run as Wertz (5:12, 1:24) and Ray (2:57) finished off the spree before Evan Zapfel (Sr., Newport Beach, Calif./Corona del Mar) skipped in a ball at 1:06 to make it 4-2. The Midshipmen, however, closed out the period with a strike by Handley with 34 seconds on the clock handing the Blue & Gold a 5-2 lead at the break.
The lead exploded in the second period as the Midshipmen posted a 7-to-1 scoring advantage in the frame behind three goals from Wertz, two by Pedrotty and solo strikes off the hands of Ray and Schofer to builed a 13-2 lead at halftime and cruise to the 15-goal win.
A key for Navy was the Mids abilities on man-up chances as the squad converted on eight-of-12 advantage chances, including a penalty shot by Pedrotty in the second period, to dominate the Crimson.
For Harvard, Zapfel, Eliot, John Holland-McCowan (Fr., Atherton, Calif./Menlo School), Luka Babic (Sr., Belgrade, Serbia/10th Belgrade Grammar School) and Kevin DiSilvestro (Sr., Philadelphia, Pa./Episcopal Academy) each netted single goals for the Crimson who converted on just one-of-six man-up opportunities.
In cage, Gutierrez stopped three shots in 16 minutes of work in the first half to notch the win, before being relieved by a five stop performance by Tyler Barker (Fr., Orinda, Calif./Miramonte) in the second half. For Harvard, Popp accounted for five saves in taking the loss.
|No. 15 United States Naval
Harvard Goals: Evan Zapfel; Max Eliot; John
Holland-McCowan; Luka Babic; Kevin DiSilvestro
Navy Goals: Kyle Wertz (6); Stevie Ray (4);
Paul Pedrotty (3); Conor Handley (2); Jack Finch (2); Arny Warren;
Archie Warren; Tommy Schofer
Saves: Harvard - Alexandre Popp (5) ; Navy - Anthony Gutierrez (3, 16 minutes), Tyler Barker (6, 16 minutes)
Exclusions: Harvard - 12 ; Navy - 6
Advantage Opportunities: Harvard - 1-for-6 ; Navy - 8-for-12
Sprints: Harvard - 1-for-4 (2nd) ; Navy - 3-for-4 (1st, 3rd, 4th)
Officials: Val Vasilchikov, Eddie Ajuz
Harvard University's Alexandre Popp attempts to stop a shot by Navy's Conor Handley as Kevin DiSilvestro pursues