M. Water Polo Keeps NCAA Hopes Afloat
The Crimson (20-8, 7-3 CWPA) went 3-1 on the weekend, including a 10-1 thrashing of Ivy League rival Brown and a 5-4 loss to No. 14 Queens College. The Crimson also defeated George Washington, 12-3, and Johns Hopkins, 10-4.
The games of the greatest importance were against Queens and the Bears. With the win against Brown, Harvard avenged a 10-8 loss in Providence the previous week. And with its near-win over Queens, the Crimson proved that its 10-8 upset over the Eastern powerhouse last week was not a fluke.
The Crimson could face both teams over the course of the Northern Division championships at Brown this weekend.
“We played two good games against teams we can hopefully beat,” sophomore 2-meter Todd Schulte said.
Harvard 10, Brown 1
Last week, the Crimson faced a relatively rested Brown team mere hours after its win over then-No. 12 Queens. Yesterday, facing Brown after a night’s rest and in its last game of the tournament, the Crimson dominated from the start of play.
“Revenge and rivalry were the key words of this game,” junior driver Istvan Zollei said. “When they beat us, their team was really psyched, and it’s always been a very competitive between us.”
Zollei scored twice in a game in which nine different players accounted for the 10 goals scored.
“It is hard to defend that kind of balance,” Zollei said. “When one guy is scoring all the goals, the other team can focus on that one person. But when we show them we all can score, there is little they can do.”
Schulte said he felt that the difference between the two games against Brown was more than the absence of fatigue.
“Last time, we allowed them to dictate what we did,” he said. “This time, we stuck to our game plan, and the results showed it.”
The Crimson has now defeated the Bears in two of their three meetings this season. The fourth will come in the opening round at Northerns, and is a must-win if Harvard is going to advance to Easterns at Princeton in two weeks.
Queens 5, Harvard 4
The most important game in Saturday’s action was Harvard’s loss to Queens. The Crimson started out strong in the first quarter, controlling the pace and nursing a 2-0 lead at the end of the frame.
But although Harvard continued to dictate the flow of the action in the second quarter, several defensive lapses opened the door for the Knights to get back in the game. They did so in a flourish, scoring five goals in the frame to escape the half with a 5-3 lead.
“I thought we played our best game of the season against Queens,” Schulte said. “But we had four of five breakdowns that cost us.”
The Crimson recovered defensively in the second half to hold the Knights scoreless, but wasn’t able to manufacture any goals until the fourth quarter to pull within one.
But the comeback would not be completed. Despite several chances in the closing minutes, the Knights were able to hold Harvard off in the clutch.
“We need to work on our offense there,” Zollei said. “I’m not saying that we would have won if we had gotten it to overtime, but with the home crowd, home pool and the extra session, we would have had every chance.”
If the Crimson takes care of Brown in Saturday’s opener, it may get another chance to upend the Knights in the semifinal and make a repeat appearance at Easterns.