Harvard's unsung but valiant varsity water polo team, boasting an impressive seven-and-one record, will head to the Eastern AAU championships this weekend at the Paul J. Whacker Tournament in New York.
Harvard earned the right to go to the championships by capturing first place in a tournament held at Brown University last weekend. In the first two matches the water poloists unleased a barrage of quick shots and rear-backs, and demolished hapless RPI and the Philadelphia Athletic Club, 10-3 and 8-3 respectively.
In the final contest on Saturday night, Harvard squeaked out a controversial 6-5 double-overtime victory against Northeastern. Junior Kent Osban banged in the winning goal in the second overtime. But with a few seconds remaining, Northeastern pommelled in a desperation shot. The officials invalidated the tally, however, ruling that the ball entered the net after playing time had elapsed.
"The ball was heading toward the net, but hadn't gone in when the buzzer sounded," captain A1 Bozer said yesterday. "So we escaped with our tails."
The victory especially pleased the water poloists, because in a pre-season match, a Huskie illegally dragged senior captain Phil Jonckheer down from behind on a breakaway, putting Jonckheer out for the season with a severe back injury.
Saturday night's match proved equally physical but more costly to Northeastern. With Harvard trailing 4-3, Bozer found himself in a breakaway, but a Northeastern defender nabbed him from behind illegally. Bozer capitalized on the infraction and sent the game into its first overtime with a successful penalty shot.
The water poloists only loss this season came at the hands of the national indoor champion New York Athletic Club in a 9-5 decision at a three day tournament held here April 19th through 21st.
In this weekend's championship match, eight teams will participate, including the Quebec All-Stars and Mexico's national champion Olympic team, which won the tourney last year.
Harvard will rely on its top scorers, Bozer and Freshman Charles Glazier, tied with six goals apiece, and its goalie Tracy Mallory, averaging four goals per game, in its bid for the title.
"It will be a tough tournament," Bozer said yesterday. "But we should do well."