It's not so far-fetched to call Saturday's NCAA Men's Water Polo Championship Play-In game between 13th-ranked Bucknell (22-8) and host ninth-ranked Harvard (29-0) a long distance local all-star event.
After all, Palo Alto, Sacred Heart Prep, Menlo School, Stanford and Castilleja, among others, are represented.
Palo Alto alum Jared Stanley had 42 goals and 14 assists entering the MAWPC tournament, which the Bison won in their home pool to advance into the NCAA opening round. Menlo School grad Scott Little has scored twice.
Bucknell played the Crimson earlier this year in the Harvard Invitational, taking an early 3-0 lead before losing, 9-8. The Bison are 22-12 all-time against Harvard.
The winner of Saturday's game advances to play USC on Tuesday, December 5th at 1 p.m. on the campus of the University of the Pacific in Stockton.
Former Castilleja Athletic Director and Stanford Water Polo Foundation coach Ted Minnis led Harvard to the first undefeated season in NWPC history. The Crimson were 10-0 against ranked opponents.
Stanford grad Cassie Churnside and former Menlo School coach Cory Olcott are on Minnis' staff and the team features five players who attended Sacred Heart Prep or Menlo School.
Jackson Enright, Michael Sonsini, Alex Tsotadze and Roger Brockett are from SHP and Ben Wagner came from Menlo.
Harvard's 8-7 victory over Princeton (and Menlo grad Christopher Xi and Woodside alum Nick Hovsmith) in the conference championship, Enright and Tsotadze each scored twice to power the offense and Sonsini recorded a team-high three assists.
The championship victory was career win No. 200 for Minnis, in his 10th year at Harvard. Sonsini has 63 assists on the season, third most in single-season school history.
Pepperdine (with SHP's JC Marco and Xavier Marco) and Stanford (SHP's Larsen Weigle, Walker Seymour and Andrew Churukian and Menlo-Atherton's Nik Caryotakis) are the only other teams in the NCAA tournament with local connections.