Aquadudes, Brown Split Title Trophy
Crimson Falls to Bruins, 10-5, in Contest at Blodgett
If the Harvard-Brown men's water polo match last night at Blodgett Pool had been a race at the Head of the Charles, the Brown squad would have been crossing the finish line just as the Crimson was getting in the water.
The Bruins, ranked ninth nationally, crushed Harvard, jumping to a 10-0 lead through three periods, and winning, 10-5, to clinch a tie with the Crimson for first place in this weekend's New England Tournament. The University of Massachusetts finished third, MIT and Boston College finished tied for fifth and Yale failed to win a single game.
Harvard, the 19th-ranked team in the country entering this weekend, captured a share of the tournament title by handily beating its four other opponents. Brown's only loss came on Friday night when its second-string team lost a tough, 12-11 overtime game to B.C.
Brown junior Chad Jendsen opened the scoring against the Crimson (15-5) in the first quarter and sophomore Neil McGaraghan added two power-play goals--the second on a lob pass with three seconds remaining in the first quarter--to put the Bruins up, 3-0.
Sophomore Terive Duperier assisted Andrew Grammley and Chris Rusay for consecutive goals in the first four minutes of the second period to increase Brown's commanding lead to 5-0.
"We were discouraged in the first half," Harvard sophomore John Marshall said. "Suddenly, Brown was up, 5-0, and we thought, `What do we do how?'"
The Crimson's sloppy offensive play and troubles with Brown's weakside defensive double-teaming allowed the rout to continue.
The first of Duperier's two goals in the game was scored off a rebound of Jendsen's shot which hit the crossbar. With Brown now leading by six at the end of the first half, Brown's goalie fired a desperation shot, which sailed past Harvard goalie Greg Beber's outstretched arms and nestled comfortably into the corner of the Harvard goal as time ran out.
Duperier's second goal and McGaraghan's third power-play goal of the game lifted the Bruins to a 10-0 lead with four minutes still remaining in the third period.
Marshall, who played brilliantly for the Crimson this weekend despite suffering from the flu, tallied two of the five Harvard goals in the final quarter against Brown's second-string team.
"We had some communication breakdowns early and we allowed them to get up on us," Marshall said. "We had a tough time breaking out of our slump."
Beber finished the Brown game with only two saves and the Crimson's man-up and man-down teams played terribly after a fairly successful tournament. Harvard converted only two of six power-play situations and the Bruins tallied four of five power plays.
Harvard may have suffered from a lack of stamina, considering its starters had played a significant amount of time in the four previous games. In comparison, the Bruins' starters had not played more than one-half of any of their previous games.
Junior Nick Branca's three goals in the last eight minutes of Friday night's opening game and Harvard's tight, aggresive defense sparked the Crimson to a 13-5 win over MIT.
Freshman Todd Forman's second goal of the game at the beginning of the third period put Harvard up, 5-2, but the aquamen started to falter against the Engineers.
The Crimson missed a power-play opportunity and Kaoki Jackson responded on the other end of the pool to cut MIT's deficit to two goals. Following freshman Peter Richard's missed shot on another man-up situation, Will Schror's third goal of the game pulled the Engineers to within one, 5-4. When goalie Paul Wysocki saved Harvard Co-Captain Eric Bentley's next shot, it looked like the Crimson was in jeopardy of losing its Top-20 national ranking.
"The MIT game was much too close of a game for who we were playing," Marshall said. "We started out very slow, but we came back really strong in the second half."
Harvard dominated the final nine minutes of the game to pull out the victory. Freshman Mike Johnson scored with two minutes remaining in the third period to up Harvard's advantage to two. Following a Bentley steal, Branca scored his first goal of the night with a shot which tipped off Wysocki's hands and into the net. Richards' goal put the aquamen comfortably up, 8-4, at the end of the third quarter.
Richards, Forman, Marshall and senior Joe Kaufman each tallied two goals, and Greg Beber saved 10 shots in Harvard's third win of the year over the Engineers.
Harvard's defense again rose to the challenge in the Crimson's 10-3 blowout of UMass on Saturday Beber was rarely challenged, having to record seven saves while holding the Minutemen to only three goals, the lowest output of any Harvard opponent this year.
Goals by sophomore Jon Miller and freshman Alex Yelensky put the Minutemen up, 2-0, in the first five minutes of the game. But Johnson, Kaufman, and freshman Kio Lippitt converted power-play goals to give Harvard a 4-2 halftime lead.
Leading, 6-3, with two minutes remaining in the third period, Harvard stopped two consecutive UMass man-up situations, and freshman Steve Kan and Andy Freed combined for three power-play goals to finish off the Minutemen.
Harvard converted six of eight man-advantage opportunities and held UMass to only one power-play goal in six chances.
Freed and Kan scored early goals in Saturday's nightcap to stake Harvard to a 2-0 lead against Yale. Johnson's two goals and Bentley's goal extended Harvard's lead to 5-2 at the end of the first half.
Backup goalie Scott Frewing saved eight shots.