Second-Place Finish Earns Aquamen Slot at Easterns
It was the game that they had aimed for all season.
This weekend at the New England Championships held in Providence, R.I., Harvard climbed all the way to the finals--only to lose yet again to Brown.
But despite the disappointing loss to the Bruins, Harvard earned an invitation to the Easterns at Annapolis next weekend as a result of its 6-4 win over Yale in the semifinals.
The Bruins bullied the Crimson to a 12-7 win and won the New England tournament which it has dominated for several years now.
The inability to beat Brown, in the words of senior Co-Captain Andy Freed, represents a source of "unspeakable frustration."
"We took them to overtime earlier in the season," sophomore Peter Richards added. "We knew we could beat them. We played hard, but Brown was just as intense."
But the weekend wasn't as bad as the Brown game might make it seem. After all, Harvard did reach the finals of a major tournament. And they did it by beating old nemesis UMass in the first round, 10-5.
"The UMass game was probably our biggest win," sophomore Kio Lippett said, "since they've beaten us twice this season."
That win, following a 16-10 victory over MIT, advanced the Crimson to its matchup against Yale.
"The only reason the [Yale] game was close was that we were kind of looking forward to Brown," Richards said.
Everything was looking good. At the tail end of a miraculous weekend, the mood was set for a miraculous win over Brown. The question in everyone's minds was: Could it really happen?
The game began mildly enough. The Bruins kept the Crimson scoreless until freshman Chad Barker hurled the first of his three goals into the net with 1:37 left in the first quarter to make it 2-1.
"We were in the game," Coach Chris Hafferty said. "But it has been a problem with my coaching to generate offense on this team."
"Our man-up situation was horrible. We had 10 opportunities and only converted one. That's the story of the game right there," Freed said.
Despite Coach Hafferty's prognosis, the intensity was also a factor. The Bruins held a 4-3 halftime lead. Unlike the UMass game, however, the Crimson began to lose its intensity.
"We have a habit of relaxing in the second half," Lippett said. "After we led 3-0 in the first quarter [against UMass], we wanted to play as if it was tied."
In the Brown game, "our intensity was there, we just didn't maintain it," Lippett said.
Whatever explanation one chooses, the Bruins came back with a powerful resurgence. And the Crimson struggled with frustration as the game slipped away.
"What's that old saying?" Hafferty asked. "Again, we're the bridesmaid instead of the bride. That's no consolation for us."