Princeton Rallies for 2024 CWPA Women’s Water Polo Title On Houlahan’s Last-Minute Goal

Princeton Team and coach Derek Ellingson
Courtesy: Princeton Athletics

Princeton Rallies for 2024 CWPA Women’s Water Polo Title On Houlahan’s Last-Minute Goal

With a 10-9 win over Michigan yesterday at Harvard’s Blodgett Pool, Princeton women’s water polo captured their second-straight Collegiate Water Polo Association (CWPA) title and their sixth title in program history.

Ava Houlahan’s game-winning goal with a minute remaining capped a Tiger rally from an early three-goal deficit.

“I couldn’t be prouder of this group,” said Derek Ellingson, Princeton’s head coach. “They showed so much fight and did not quit, showing the heart of a champion.”

Tonight’s NCAA water polo selection show will determine when the Tigers (23-6; 10-0 CWPA) play their first-round match and who their opponent will be.

Sunday’s win capped an undefeated (12-0) romp through CWPA competition, as Princeton overcame the loss of last-year’s leading scorer Jovana Sekulic who took this semester off in pursuit of a spot with the US women’s national team for the 2024 Olympic games in Paris.

Kayla Yelinsky, who has led Princeton this year with 67 goals, scored a hat-trick and was named Most Valuable Player of the 2024 CWPA Tournament on the strength of seven goals over two games.

To advance to the CWPA title match, Princeton beat Ivy League rival Brown on Saturday by a 9-7 score.
Since Ellingson, named this month as the Sandy Nitta Distinguished Coaching National Award, took the reins of Princeton women’s polo in 2019, the Tigers have gone 103-32 and captured two CWPA titles. In last year’s national championship tournament, Princeton upset No. 3 seed Cal in the quarterfinals to become the first non-West Coast school to make the Final Four since Michigan in 2016.

It resulted in a No. 4 ranking in the CWPA Varsity Women’s Poll, the Tigers highest-ever final season ranking in program history.

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