It has been one surprise after another for the Harvard water polo team this season, which made the latest surprise not so unexpected.
The aquamen, playing their first season as a varsity sport, defeated two of three Division I rivals this weekend at Blodgett Pool to finish second in the New England Water Polo Championships. The performance earned the team a ticket to the Easterns next weekend at Fordham.
The crucial victory came Saturday night against MIT. Three Houston Hall goals sparked the Crimson to a 5-3 halftime lead, but the Engineers--ranked number two in New England--battled back to even the score at eight as regulation time expired.
Before the partisan crowd of 400, Dave Fasi regained the momentum for Harvard with two goals in the first 90 seconds of overtime. Three more unanswered goals from a fired-up Crimson squad clinched the decision, and MIT's lone overtime tally was too little and too late to alter the 13-9 Crimson victory.
An emotionally drained Harvard team succumbed to top-seeded Brown the next morning, 7-3. "It was tough playing the Bruins after such a big win the night before," aquaman Pat Jakobson said.
The team did not play its best. Goalie Rich Reid (9 saves) and the defense contained the potent Bruin squad, but lacking any offensive spark, the Crimson never threatened the visitors' lead.
The aquamen closed out the tournament with an easy 14-5 win against fourth-seeded Yale. "The Elis are not as strong as they have been in the past, but we still think of it as Harvard-Yale," coach Steve Pike said after the game.
Accordingly, the aquamen battered a Yale team lacking depth in the last two quarters after taking 6-3 halftime lead. Scores for the third quarter came from Phil Atkinson, Hall, Jakobson and Steven Munatones, but it was Hall's second goal which finished the Elis.