Early Ups and Downs for Harvard Continue at North-South

In just over 24 hours at the North-South Tournament in Annapolis, Md., Harvard men’s water polo faced three challenging matchups, including a tournament opener against East Coast powerhouse Bucknell (3-1) on Saturday afternoon.

Despite falling to the Bisons in a lopsided 18-8 decision, the Crimson turned things around later the very same day against Mercyhurst (5-2).

Still reeling after its opener, Harvard battled tough and picked up a convincing 18-7 win before closing out the weekend the next morning with a 10-8 loss to the Navy “B” squad.

The Crimson is still looking to find its rhythm.

With a solid senior presence, an experienced core of returning players, and a formidable freshman class, the pieces are in place.

But due to the absence of senior co-captain Luka Babic in the pool, those pieces have yet to come together to form a cohesive, winning unit.

Babic’s injury, a 15-stitch facial laceration suffered two weekends ago, left the Crimson shorthanded in its three most recent games.

Without the senior leader, the Crimson’s ups and downs continued this weekend.

NAVY 10, HARVARD 8

In the final game of the weekend, Harvard found itself on the losing end of a matchup with Navy’s “B” squad.

Despite playing its third shorthanded game in just over 24 hours, the Crimson put together a solid effort, gaining valuable experience for its freshman class.

“It was a great learning experience ... we regrouped from the mistakes we made in the past and improved on those, and figured out a few things we need to tweak before heading into conference play next week,” senior goalie Alex Popp said.

Harvard was very slow off the block, remaining scoreless well into the second quarter, despite earning a five-meter penalty shot opportunity in the opening stanza.

Freshman two-meter John Holland-McCowan finally put the Crimson on the board and swung the momentum his squad’s way.

Harvard dominated in the mid-game play and fought its way back to a 5-4 lead by the third quarter.

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