Coming off its stirring 8-7 victory Saturday over arch-rival Brown, the Harvard men's water polo team defeated local rival MIT 20-3 yesterday at Blodgett Pool.
The Crimson (9-5) looked strong in all facets of the game, showing crisp passing, a strong attack and a great defense. Harvard dictated the flow of the game, controlling the action from the first whistle to the last.
The game was over in the first five minutes. The Crimson jumped out to an early advantage, scoring less than two minutes into the game on junior Michael Chen's goal. Leading 3-1, thanks to goals by Davis and junior Dan Arbelaez, freshman phenom Mike Zimmerman (three goals) netted the fourth goal a scant four minutes into the contest.
It was all that Harvard would need.
Although MIT came back with a break-away goal to draw within two once again, the Engineers didn't score for the remainder of the half and connected only once more in the game. In fact, sophomore goaltenders Edward Chen and Jose Villa had only four saves as the defense limited MIT to seven shots in the contest.
Harvard put together a six goal run to close out the half, after Zimmerman connected for the fourth score. Senior Alex Kim (three tallies) added two goals in the Harvard run, while sophomore Andy Davis added one of his game-high six goals in that stretch.
"It felt great out there," senior Julian Alexander said. "The team is really coming together."
"We have a great bench," said captain Chip Hellar, who sat out the contest due to illness. "We are all shouldering the load. We're not relying on a few stars to carry us."
Even when the Crimson made wholesale substitutions at several points in the game, the Engineers were simply unable to mount a serious offensive threat. The lack of Engineer brilliance let Harvard wile away its time on strict fundamentals for the remainder of the game.
"In a game like this, we're able to work on some things we couldn't in a more competitive atmosphere," Hellar said.
Competitive was the atmosphere in Colorado, where the team traveled for the Air Force Academy Invitational earlier this year and clashed with top 10 teams UC-Davis and UC-Santa Barbara.
"We were able to hang with [the top 10 teams]," Hellar said. "We would give up a lot of goals early, then match them the rest of the way. It really helped our confidence."
Harvard will next turn its attention to the upcoming Ivy League tounament this weekend at Brown. Coming off its recent victory over Brown, the team has high hopes heading into the tournament.
"Brown is kind of a perennial nemesis for us," Alexander said. "They pack the pool, and it gets everyone fired up. We think we're the better team, we just have to put it together."
Poll is based on votes of coaches and is compelled by the ECAC. First place votes are in parentheses followed by total points.