The Eastern Water Polo League Tournament final between Harvard and Fordham yesterday at Blodgett Pool was, appropriately, a battle of undefeated teams.
On Saturday, the Crimson dumped Princeton and Villanova, while Fordham similarly dispatched of Boston College and Yale.
And, appropriately, the two squads played as closely as possible, with Harvard pulling out a dramatic, 9-8 victory over the Rams.
The win put the Crimson in good position for the next Eastern League tournament, which features Navy and Brown, two of the most dominant clubs in the East, on the weekend of October 10 in Annapolis, Md.
The tournament started very well for the aquament as they swamped Princeton, 15-4, and dunked Villanova, 13-7.
Highlights of this first-day offensive fest was the performance of what has become known as the San Diego Connection. Freshman John Marshall and sophomore Nick Branca, who both hail from the San Diego area, pumped in 10 of the Crimson's 13 goals in the Villanova game.
Tri-Captain Bill Wolff was especially impressed by the play of Marshall, starting in his first collegiate tournament. "It's pretty hot that he [Marshall] did so well," Wolff said. "He was awesome. He created opportunities for himself and made himself open. He's a smart, heads-up player."
Once the Fordham game started, however, the Crimson's offensive fever seemed to abate, as the Rams gave up only two tallies in the first half while scoring four times.
But the Crimson, using a fastbreaking, counter-attacking style, pulled even at 6-6 going into the fourth quarter.
At that point, Harvard established control of the game. Sophomore Kyle Enright put in a man-advantage goal with 1:26 left, which eventually proved to be the game-winner.
"The counter-attack is the trend in water polo," said Wolff. "You want to outswim them instead of just brawling it out."