Pair of East Coast Tournaments Open 2017 Men’s Varsity Water Polo Season

Nelson Fitness Center Dedication 2012, 5/25/12
Brown's Katherine Moran Coleman Aquatics Center. Photo Courtesy: Peter Goldberg

By Michael Randazzo, Swimming World Contributor

NOTE: Today’s post kicks off Swimming World’s coverage of the 2017 NCAA men’s varsity season. Look for exclusive interviews with the country’s top coaches, conference previews and the most in-depth coverage of American intercollegiate men’s polo. Rankings based upon the most recent Collegiate Water Polo Association’s Men’s Varsity Poll.

The 2017 NCAA men’s varsity water polo season kicks off next weekend with the first of two major tournaments that pit the best East Coast teams against some of the best squads from the West. The Bruno Classic (September 2, 3 and 4) and the Princeton Invitational (September 8, 9 and 10) offer Eastern polo fans an annual opportunity to view the country’s best.

Headlining the Princeton Invitational, now in its 20th year, is #3 UCLA. The Bruins—back-to-back NCAA champs in 2014 and 2015—will join California’s Santa Clara, Eastern powers Bucknell, St. Francis, Johns Hopkins and the U.S. Naval Academy as well as a trio of Ivies, Brown, Harvard, the host Tigers and Chapman, Fordham, George Washington, Iona and Wagner.

Appearing at the Bruno Classic—which will split matches between the Katherine Moran Coleman Aquatics Center in Providence and Harvard’s Blodgett Pool are #4 University of the Pacific, #5 Stanford and #7 Pepperdine, coached by Terry Schroeder. Olympic silver medals as a player in 1984 and 1988 as well as silver in 2008 as a coach make Schroeder the most decorated water polo athlete America has ever produced.

In addition to its West Coast visitors, Brown and 2016 NCAA Final Four participant Harvard will host fellow Northeast Water Polo Conference (NWPC) members St. Francis Brooklyn and MIT, rising Eastern power Wagner, California Baptist, and McKendree University, which will play its first-ever varsity polo match when it faces Brown at 8:30 a.m. on Saturday.

2017 Bruno Classic

Brown University, Providence, R.I., Saturday, September 2
8:30 a.m. Brown vs. McKendree
9:50 a.m. Wagner vs. Cal Baptist
11:10 a.m. Bucknell vs. Pacific
12:30 p.m. St. Francis Brooklyn vs. Brown
2:00 p.m. McKendree vs. Cal Baptist
4:00 p.m. St. Francis Brooklyn vs. Bucknell
5:30 p.m. Wagner vs. Pacific
7:00 p.m. Brown vs. Cal Baptist

Harvard University, Cambridge, MA, Saturday, September 2
10:30 a.m. MIT vs. Pepperdine
Noon Harvard vs. Stanford
3:00 p.m. MIT vs. Stanford
4:30 p.m. Harvard vs. Pepperdine

Brown, Sunday, September 3
8:00 a.m. Brown vs. Pacific
9:15 a.m. Bucknell vs. Pepperdine
10:30 a.m. St. Francis Brooklyn vs. Stanford
11:45 a.m. Brown vs. Pepperdine
1:00 p.m. Bucknell vs. Cal Baptist
2:30 p.m. St. Francis Brooklyn vs. Pacific
3:45 p.m. Brown vs. Stanford University

Harvard, Sunday, September 3
9:30 a.m. Harvard vs. McKendree
11:00 a.m. MIT vs. Wagner
2:00 p.m. MIT vs. McKendree
3:30 p.m. Harvard vs. Wagner

Princeton University men's water polo vs. Santa Clara, Princeton, NJ, September 13, 2013.

Princeton’s DeNunzio Pool. Photo Courtesy: Beverly Schaefer

On the last day of the Princeton Invitational at 1 p.m., Adam Wright’s UCLA squad will match up with the host Tigers in the tournament’s marquee match to be televised by ESPN. The Bruins will also take on all comers from the East, including St. Francis, Brown and Bucknell. The Bison—featuring sophomore scoring sensation Rade Joksimovic (154 goals)—will look to continue their success from 2016, when they captured the inaugural Mid-Atlantic Water Polo Conference (MAWPC) title.

Bucknell will also face Harvard, who dealt the Bison a devastating loss in last year’s NCAA play-in match at Blodgett Pool, where Harvard prevailed 13-12 in overtime despite an incredible performance by Joksimovic, who poured in half of Bucknell’s goals.

Also making the trip to Princeton is Johns Hopkins, which will face Chapman, Iona and Princeton. Head coach Ted Bresnehan’s squad is looking to improve on a 5-19 (4-6 MAWPC) record in 2016, a disappointment following a breakout 2015 season that saw Hopkins come within one goal of being the first-ever DIII team to represent the East in the NCAA Tournament.

The U.S. Naval Academy is similarly looking to rebound from an awful 2016 season that saw the Middies go 8-18 (2-8 MAWPC) including a ten-match losing streak that wrecked a once-promising season. Navy will face a pair of New York City schools in St. Francis and Wagner, and will also face West Coast visitor Santa Clara.

2017 Princeton Invitational, Princeton’s DeNunzio Pool

Friday, September 1
2:20 p.m. George Washington vs. UCLA
3:40 p.m. Iona vs. Santa Clara
5:00 p.m. Princeton vs. Chapman
6:20 p.m. St. Francis Brooklyn vs. UCLA
7:40 p.m. Iona vs. George Washington
9:00 p.m. Princeton vs. Johns Hopkins

Saturday, September 2
7:30 a.m. Bucknell vs. UCLA
8:45 a.m. Wagner vs. U.S. Naval Academy
10:00 a.m. Harvard vs. George Washington
11:15 a.m. Princeton vs. Santa Clara
12:30 p.m. Brown v UCLA
1:45 p.m. Iona vs. Johns Hopkins
3:00 p.m. St. Francis Brooklyn vs. Bucknell
4:15 p.m. Harvard vs. Chapman
5:30 p.m. Fordham vs. Santa Clara
6:45 p.m. Brown vs. George Washington
8:00 p.m. St. Francis Brooklyn vs. U.S. Naval Academy
9:15 p.m. Johns Hopkins vs. Chapman

Sunday, September 2
7:30 a.m. Brown vs. Fordham
8:45 a.m. Wagner vs. Chapman
10:00 a.m. Harvard vs. Bucknell
11:15 a.m. Fordham vs. Chapman
1:00 p.m. Princeton vs. UCLA
2:30 p.m. U.S. Naval Academy vs. Santa Clara
3:45 p.m. Brown vs. Wagner


    • avatar
      Michael Randazzo

      Thanks for this comment! Is the wonder great East Coast water polo coming up the next two weekends or that UCLA is coming out East for a second straight year (which IS wonderful…).

      M. Randazzo

  1. avatar

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    and without a doubt, you’ve hit the nail on the head.
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    • avatar
      Michael Randazzo

      Thanks for your kind words! Swimming World is covering the sport wherever it lives, and the best that polo has to offer in the U.S. begins this Saturday.

      You might want to keep a lookout for our men’s varsity conference previews, which will go live over the next few days. The first—and perhaps most interesting because it entails a change in NCAA qualifications—is on the Golden Coast Conference:

      M. Randazzo