The scene in New Haven this past weekend at the Ivy League men's water polo tournament bore much resemblance to the past two Summer Olympics. One of two major powers was not present, so the other major power dominated.
With Brown's "A" team on its traditional Western road swing playing against nationally-ranked squads, Harvard breezed to a 3-0 tourney mark and brought home the title.
The Crimson (now 15-3) rolled through the tournament, scoring 59 goals in three games. Almost half of them were tallied in its opening game, a 25-8 dunking of Dartmouth.
The slaughter was led by 1987 'Shmen of the Year Bruce Burkley, who copped the award from his teammates last week.
"I thought I was furthest from the award, which is probably why I got it," Burkley said.
Burkley tallied six goals to set a Harvard freshman single-game scoring record. The El Toro, Calif., native netted the record-breaker in the game's final minute.
"I was definitely spurred on [by getting the 'Shmen award]," Burkley said. "They were all cheering me on."
The Crimson drowned Princeton, 19-5, on a four-goal effort by Eric Bentley in game two.
Despite the final score, the Tigers hung tough, and were down only 3-1 at the end of the first period.
This two-game Harvard effort set up a less-then apocalyptic championship game against Brown's "B" team.
Through the first three periods, the Bruins played like their "A"-team mates who were somewhere in California. As the combatants entered the final seven-minute stanza, Brown was ahead, 11-9.
Then the Crimson got hot. Very hot.
Led by three Nick Branca goals, Harvard put together a 6-0 run to pull the game out of the fire, 15-12.
"It was nice to have a clutch situation and come through," said Tri-Captain Bill Wolff, who scored two of his five goals in the fourth quarter.