The women’s water polo team pulled out a last-second victory against Brown, knocking off its perennial rival for the third time in four chances this season.
The wins over Connecticut College and the Bears helped the Crimson solidify its hold on the second seed heading into the Northern Championships which will take place in two weeks. Heading into Saturday’s games in Providence, R.I., the Crimson (14-6) held a 2-1 mark against Brown, but had never played the Bears on the road.
Two of the previous three meetings came at Blodgett Pool, while the third came at the ECAC Championships in Lewisburg, Pa.
HARVARD 9, BROWN 8
Harvard’s second game of the day proved by far the most exciting, resulting from a competitive, playoff atmosphere. Though a late-season game, the Crimson didn’t rest its starters, and emotions ran high. Brown (9-10) had always proved a tough opponent for the Crimson, but this evening was unlike any other.
The low-ceilinged pool was packed with fans of all sorts, including Brown’s entire pep band. Despite the rowdy crowd, which at times yelled profanities and insults, the Crimson focused its energies on the game.
The Bears played well early, gaining a 2-0 lead before junior Molly Mehaffey scored a backhander to make it 2-1. Harvard completed the comeback by the intermission, evening the score at five.
After the break, Brown scored two quick goals to put the Crimson down 7-5 in the middle of the third quarter, but yet again Harvard fought back and with only 29 seconds remaining in the fourth, the game was tied at eight.
The Bears gained possession with just three seconds remaining and immediately called a timeout to set up a play. The set play produced a long shot that missed, and the Crimson gained possession with only one second left.
Harvard now had its own opportunity to run a set play. Junior goalkeeper Lydia Gardner threw a shot toward the opposing goal and freshman Lauren Snyder managed to tip the ball past the Bears’ Anne Deggelman as time expired. The Crimson erupted in cheers, elated to have pulled out such a narrow victory—especially over Brown.
“It was kind of quiet for a moment and then everyone started screaming,” said junior Arin Keyser. “The Brown fans...were in disbelief.”
“It was a crazy game but we capitalized,” Mehaffey said. “It was so sweet and amazing—it was the coolest game I think I’ve ever been in.”
HARVARD 18, CONNECTICUT COLLEGE 3
The Crimson jumped out to an early lead against the lowly Camels and never looked back. In the early game Saturday, nearly everyone on the team played, including junior, backup goalkeeper Claire Lukeman who performed quite well. It was a very potent game for Harvard on the offensive end as the team took great advantage of their power play opportunities.
“We love playing them,” Mehaffey said. “They are really nice girls and the game is always pleasant—good sportsmanship all around.”
This weekend’s triumphs bode well for the team as they head to the Northerns on April 23rd in New London, Connecticut. The Crimson will most likely have to face Brown again and will need to fare well in those weekend’s contests to secure a spot at the Eastern Championships later this month.