SHP grad Dearborn helps Princeton earn NCAA bid


With Sacred Heart Prep grad Ben Dearborn playing a starring role in the cage, the 19th-ranked Princeton men's water polo team captured its second CWPA Eastern Championship in the past two seasons with a 10-7 win over Navy on Sunday afternoon in Cambridge, Mass.

Princeton (22-9) never trailed in the victory as the Tigers claimed the CWPA's bid to the NCAA Championships in two weeks in Berkeley.

Dearborn stymied Navy in goal with 14 saves in the game. His performance included five saves in the momentum-shifting third quarter that saw Princeton take an insurmountable four-goal lead.

Drew Hoffenberg led the Tigers with three goals while Palo Alto High grad Tim Wenzlau added one goal and one assist. Wenzlau's goal gave Princeton a 1-0 lead with 6:11 left in the first quarter.

Navy drew even to start the third quarter but Princeton answered with a four-goal run to erase any doubt.

Princeton's last Eastern Championship came two seasons ago with a win over Navy. Just like this season, Princeton fell to Navy in the Southern Championships game that season, but avenged the loss in the Eastern title game.

At the tournament's conclusion, three Tigers were selected to the Eastern All-Tournament Team. Dearborn and Hoffenberg were named to the first team while Wenzlau was a second-team selection.

Princeton now advance to the NCAA Championships at Cal. It will be Princeton's fourth NCAA appearance and second in the past three seasons. Princeton's previous NCAA appearances came in 1992, 2004 and 2009. Princeton's best finish of third came in 2009 when the event was held at Princeton's DeNunzio Pool.

In the semifinals on Saturday, Princeton rallied from three goals down with four minutes to force overtime and pull out a 13-11 victory over No. 16-ranked St. Francis. Wenzlau had two goals while Dearborn registered 14 saves, including a block of a 5-meter penalty shot in the fourth quarter.

In the first round, Wenzlau scored three times in a 14-3 victory over Iona.

Host Harvard, coached by former Castilleja coach Ted Minnis, finished seventh following a 13-10 win over Iona. Menlo School grad John Holland-McCowan scored a goal for Harvard and tallied four times in a 13-11 overtime loss to Bucknell in the semifinals. He also scored in a 20-5 first-round loss to Navy.

St. Francis finished third with a win over Brown, which saw Menlo School grad Toby Espinosa play his final college game. Bucknell was fifth following a 15-8 win over Johns Hopkins. Sacred Heart Prep grad Alex Whittam of Johns Hopkins was named to the All-CWPA Southern Division Second Team.

— Palo Alto Online Sports

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