Harvard Fails to Complete Weekend Sweep

Water polo wins on road, but splits Blodgett Pool series

COOL HAND KUC
Meghan T. Purdy

Junior Brian Kuczynski wan’t just a veteran presence during the weekend; he also iced Connecticut College with a hat trick.

Over the weekend, the Harvard men’s water polo team traveled to Connecticut College before returning to play its home opener at Blodgett Pool against Queens College and No. 12 Saint Francis.

After breezing through its match against Connecticut in a 17-5 win, the Crimson christened Blodgett Pool with a resounding 14-4 victory over Queens College.

But the nationally ranked Terriers did not allow Harvard (5-5-1) to complete the sweep. The Crimson fell to 2-1 on the weekend after being toppled 13-8 by Saint Francis.

SAINT FRANCIS 13, HARVARD 8

In the final clash of the day, the Crimson matched up well against the nationally ranked squad, but errors by Harvard allowed the Terriers to pull ahead.

“They’re a team where you can never slip up,” Garcia said.

“They know how to exploit everything,” senior John Voith added.

Harvard could not open a massive lead to start the game like before. The teams traded goals for the opening minutes but by beginning of the second quarter, the Crimson held onto a 3-2 lead.

The advantage would be short-lived however, as errors committed by Harvard undermined it.

“We’re at the point where our mistakes cost us goals,” Farrar said.

The Terrier offense capitalized on those and broke away on a 4-0 run, closing the half at 6-3.

After the half, Harvard struck first but never brought the difference within one goal as Saint Francis remained in control for the remainder of the game.

“We had our chances,” Farrar said. “We just had to make better use of them.”

Despite the loss, several players posted impressive efforts. Voith, who finished his LSAT exam that morning, notched three goals and two assists in the match. Garcia added two goals and two assists.

Connolly gave a remarkable effort, recording 11 saves, three steals, and one assist.

“It was certainly his best game,” Farrar said.

Harvard looks to use this weekend as a learning experience in preparation for its match against crosstown MIT.

HARVARD 14, QUEENS 4

The first quarter of Harvard’s home opener seemed a carbon copy of Friday’s game. The Crimson jumped out to a 5-0 lead over the visiting Knights.

Queens would never catch up as the Crimson maintained the momentum to the final whistle.

“If we can keep it up,” coach Erik Farrar said, “we can beat anyone.”

Freshman Hessel Yntema and sophomore Egen Atkinson led the offense with three goals apiece. Yntema also provided an assist and two steals in the effort. Byrd notched two tallies in the match.

Connolly and Balaraman shared time in the net, registering two and six saves, respectively.

HARVARD 17, CONN COLLEGE 5

On the road in Connecticut, the Crimson set the pace early against the Camels, then ran away with the game.

“We wanted to set a tone early,” senior co-captain Michael Garcia said. “We wanted to end the game in the first quarter.”

Harvard amassed an 8-2 advantage by the end of the first half before cruising to an easy 17-5 win.

Juniors Brian Kuczynski and Michael Byrd and freshman Spencer Livingston each recorded hat tricks on the night.

Sophomore Jay Connolly and freshman Nikhil Balaraman shared time in goal. Connolly notched five saves while Balaraman marked four in the winning effort.

—Staff writer Vincent R. Oletu can be reached at voletu@fas.harvard.edu.

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