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CAMBRIDGE, Mass.   Harvard University women’s water polo will add three student-athletes to its roster next season. The class consists of athletes from California, North Carolina and Greece.

“This class brings a tremendous amount of international experience to Blodgett Pool, and they are going to make an immediate impact on our team,” stated head coach Ted Minnis.

“They are going to be able to help us achieve our goals and compete for a conference championship. They each bring a skill set to the pool that will help us after again graduating another deep class of seniors. I am very excited to get to work with them and help them continue to grow in and out of the pool and see how they contribute to our HWWP program for years to come.”

Losing many key pieces heading into 2024, Harvard battled all year long as the younger members of the Crimson led the way offensively. Ruby Hodge, Emma Gilbert and Maya O’Dea combined for 142 out of the 305 total goals during the 2024 season as the team claimed Fourth Place at the Collegiate Water Polo Association (CWPA) Championship at home in Blodgett Pool to cap off a 13-14 record.

Orli Cooper

Four year starting goalie Carolina Water Polo… Carolina Water Polo Captain… USA Water Polo Academy Youth Team 2023-present…. Jr. Pan American Games 2023… ODP Futures 2022…. ODP NTSC 2022-2024….2023 Pan American Games gold medal… 2022 Junior Olympics 16u Platinum Division gold medal – session 3 (NC Select)…. 2023 Florida International silver medal …. 2023 Beast of the East silver medal (NC Select)… 2021 Junior Olympics 16u Gold Division bronze medal – session 2  (San Diego Shores)

From Minnis: “Orli is one of the top goalies in the class of 2024. She is very tall, long, and athletic and uses all of these skills to her advantage in the goal. Having a goalie like her will allow us to build on the defensive side of the pool and allow us to be more dynamic in this phase of the game. Orli has played at a very high level with our National Teams and I am very excited to help her continue to achieve all her goals.”

Sofica Del Villar

Attended Newport Harbor High School…Four year member of Water Polo Team… Four year member of Swimming Team… Played for Newport Beach Water Polo Club… 2022 Water Polo Captain… 2024 Swimming Captain… Bill Barnett Legacy Award 2024… First Team All-League 2024… Second Team All-Cif Open Division 2024… Daily Pilot Orange County Dream Team, Second Team… Open Division Semifinalist Water Polo 2024… Surf League Co-Champions 2024… Open Division Quarterfinalist Water Polo (2023)… CIF Division 1 swimming qualifier 200 Free Relay, 400 Free Relay… Santa Barbara Tournament of Champions First Place (2023)… Campeonato U18 Suda Americano Juvenil De Deportes Acuaticos, International Water Polo Tournament, Chilean National Team, placed 2nd… Pan-American Games Team Chile Santiago Chile, Chilean National Team… U19 Junior Pan-American Games El Salvador Team Chile…Valedictorian, Newport Harbor High School… Newport Harbor High School Academic Award of Excellence (9-12)…California Scholarship Federation (9-12)… National Honors Society (11-12)… Newport Harbor High School Scholar-Athlete (9-12)… AP Scholar with Distinction… Student of the Year Mathematics Nomination (2023)

From Minnis: “Sofia plays on the left-side of the pool where she uses her speed to create scoring opportunities for herself and her teammates. She represented Chili at Pan-Am’s games and got a lot of great experience there that she will bring to our team.  Sofia also played for one of the top high school teams in the country at Newport Harbor High school. I am looking forward to having her as a member of our family!” 

Niki Piovan

Attended HEAF Athens College… Vouliagmeni Nautical Club 2018-2022…Alimos NAS Betsson 2022-2023…ANO Glyfada 2023-2024… Two time captain of Vouliagmeni Nautical Club… 2024 3rd place in the Greek National Championship U19… 3rd place in the European Championship U17 with the national team of Greece 2023…5th place in the D1 women’s Greek National Championship 2023…2nd place in the Greek National Championship U18 2023…2nd place in the Greek National Championship U17 2023… 2nd place in the World Championship U16 with the national team of Greece 2022…3rd place in the D1 women’s Greek National Championship 2022…4th place in the Greek National Championship U17 2022…5th place in the Greek National Championship U16 2022…4th place in the European Championship U15 with the national team of Greece 2021…2nd place in the Greek National Championship U15 2021…2nd place in the Greek National Championship U17 2021…3rd place in the Greek National Championship U18 2021…Five-year recipient of the National Academic Excellence award…Placed third at the 2019 National Physics Competition… Qualified for the 39th National Mathematical Olympics Competition…Brother played Water Polo for Brown University

From Minnis:  Niki is going to bring a wealth of not only international experience but National team experience to our program. Niki has played on the Greek U19 team at multiple international events. She is a defender who is strong and very fast, and she shoots the ball exceptionally well. She has a high-water polo IQ and she will add depth to our already deep defender position. Niki will make an immediate impact in the pool.”

Information courtesy Harvard University Athletics Communications

Collegiate Water Polo Association