PROVIDENCE, R.I. -- Thomas Nelson (So., Walnut Creek, Calif./De La Salle) of No. 18 Princeton University scored six times to claim Player of the Game honors as the Tigers notched a 16-12 victory over Iona College in the opening round of the 2013 Collegiate Water Polo Association (CWPA) Championship at Brown University.
Princeton (20-5) will next be in action at 6:00 p.m. this evening against fellow Ivy League institution Harvard University in the tournament quarterfinals, while the Gaels of Iona (7-25) will take on Mercyhurst University, a 10-9 loser to Division III No. 8 Massachusetts Institute of Technology, at 12:20 p.m. on Saturday, November 23, in the consolation bracket.
The Tigers never trailed in the game as Nelson put his tetam in front to stay by whipping in the ice-breaker 18 seconds into the game after Kurt Buchbinder (Sr., Long Beach, Calif./The Chadwick School) claimed the opening sprint. Princeton's lead expanded to a pair with 6:21 on the clock as Drew Hoffenberg (Jr., Rancho Santa Fe, Calif./The Bishop's School) put away a shot, but the Gaels found the "luck of the Irish" with back-to-back shots by Jake Lloyd (Jr., Sinking Spring, Pa./Wilson) finding their way past Tigers' goalie Alex Gow (So., Portola Valley, Calif./Menlo-Atherton) and into the back of the cage at 5:35 and 3:01 to tie the score at two-all.
Facing the potential of Iona gaining the momentum and running away from Princeton, Nelson closed out the Gaels' string by slamming home back-to-back blasts with 41 and three seconds on the clock to put the Tigers back in front at 4-2 by the conclusion of the first quarter.
Princeton's barrage continued to start the second quarter as Jamie Kuprenas (So., Los Angeles, Calif./Loyola) and Kayj Shannon (Jr., Los Angeles, Calif./Harvard-Westlake) rocketed line-drive shots past Iona goalie Stefen Hill (Sr., Shillington, Pa./Governor Mifflin) at 7:41 and 3:14, respectively, to build the margin to 6-2.
Bryan Driscoll (Sr., Tustin, Calif./Foothill) answered for Iona at 2:05 to move the Gaels back to within 6-3, but Shannon converted on a man-up chance with 38 ticks remaining on the clock to make it 7-3. However, Iona refused to enter the break down by four as Sean Davis (Sr., Chicago, Ill./Brother Rice) found a seam in the Princeton defense to slip free for a strike with eight seconds left to make it 7-4 at intermission.
Leading by three to start the second half, Princeton put the game away in the dawning moments of the third quarter as Nelson (7:17), Kuprenas (5:52), Buchbinder (5:30) and Shannon (4:47) connected on back-to-back-to-back-to-back even-strength markers to construct an 11-4 lead and put the Gaels' in a hole from which they would be unable to recover.
Iona attempted to climb back into the contest as Driscoll, Zach Presto (So., Pittsburgh, Pa./North Allegheny) and Lloyd answered Princeton's string of tallies with one of their own by connecting on shots with 3:16, 2:49 and 1:59 remaining in the quarter, respectively, to inch within 11-7.
However, Buchbinder and Nelson raised the lead back to six at 13-7 with markers at the 1:20 and 36 seconds marks, respectively, prior to the closing horn in the third quarter.
Again, the Gaels attempted to chip away at Princeton's lead as Driscoll completed a hat-trick with 6:05 left in the fourth quarter, but Nelson (5:55) and Curtis Fink (Fr., Newport Beach, Calif./Newport Harbor) put away shots at 5:55 and 5:04 to make it 15-8.
The teams then traded goals with Presto (4:47) and Princeton's Kevin Zhang (Jr., Palo Alto, Calif./Gunn) putting balls into the cage at 4:47 and 4:31 to make it a 16-9 game.
Iona closed out the game with a 3-0 run as Ian Thompson (Jr., Lansdale, Pa./La Salle College), Davis and Chris Ellis (Fr., Houston, Texas/Jersey Village) tickled the twine with even-strength tallies with 3:33, 3:17 and 55 seconds on the clock for the 16-12 final score.
The win marks the third victory by Princeton over Iona this season as the Tigers previously stopped the Gaels by 11-6 and 13-9 scores during the regular season.
For the Tigers, Shannon joined Nelson in recording hat-tricks, while Buchbinder and Kuprenas chipped in pairs of markers. Gow notched seven saves in claiming the win.
Across the tank, Hill stopped four shots in suffering the loss, while Driscoll and Lloyd led the Gaels' offense with hat-tricks.
|No. 18 Princeton University
Thomas Nelson (6); Kayj Shannon (3); Kurt Buchbinder (2); Jamie
Kuprenas (2); Kevin Zhang; Drew Hoffenberg; Curtis Fink
Iona Goals: Bryan Driscoll (3); Jake Lloyd (3); Sean Davis (2); Zach Presto (2); Ian Thompson; Chris Ellis
Saves: Princeton - Alex Gow (7) ; Iona - Stefen Hill (4)
Exclusions: Princeton - 5 ; Iona - 7
Advantage Opportunities: Princeton - 1-for-7 ; Iona - 0-for-5
Sprints: Princeton - 2-for-4 (1st, 2nd) ; Iona - 2-for-4 (3rd, 4th)
Officials: Scott Voltz, Hadi Farid
Princeton University's Kurt
Buchbinder shoots on Iona College goalie Stefen Hill as Lee Stiles
(No. 12) closes