Despite its 1-2 record for the meet, Harvard's men's water polo team is pleased with its showing at the Navy Invitational in Annapolis, MD this weekend.
"It doesn't sound like we did that well, just from looking at the record, but we're extremely pleased," coach Don Benson said, "We played some tough teams--some of the top teams in the east."
The Crimson (4-3) went into the tournament not quite knowing what to expect. It had an impressive 3-1 record, but little experience against top-flight foes. The Navy tournament, featuring 11th-ranked Navy and 15th-ranked Bucknell, promised, to change that. It did, and the Crimson is happy with the results.
"All three of the teams we faced played very well," Benson said. "We more or less met the challenge, though, I'm extremely pleased."
In particular, the Crimson impressed with its counterattack. A "Counterattack" is the water polo equivalent of a "fast break." It is a team's ability to recover from the defensive end and make a bold offensive move. Harvard team's of the past have striven incorporate a solid counterattack into their gameplans. This year's team seems to be doing it.
"Our transition attack was much better this weekend than it has been in the past." Benson said. "We still have to do more work, but it was very encouraging."
In the first match of the tournament, the squad beat Richmond, 14-11. In the contest, the team was paced by junior Julian Alexander, with four goals; freshman Andy Davis, with three, and junior Alex Kim, three.
In the second match, it placed lost in overtime to Bucknell, 10-13. The game might have been the team's finest of the weekend. Bucknell got up, early, but the Crimson battled back to notch the score and put it into extra minutes. Alexander and Davis again led the charge, scoring three goals apiece, while senior Joss Busquets, chipped in two.
In the final game against Navy, the squad lost 14-3, despite keeping close to the Midshipmen throughout the contest.
Busquets led the team in the finale, scoring two two-point goals and one one-pointer, while drawing accolades for his team play.
"Jose is sort of like our Wayne Gretzky," Benson said. "He's just one of those guys who has excellent game sense. Even if he doesn't score, he does the little things to win. He's a great player."
The Crimson will next be in action on Thursday when it travel down river to that glorified vocational technical school, MIT, for a dual match.