As the Harvard community celebrated the football team’s win over rival Yale, the men’s water polo team took on a different rival, beating out third-seeded MIT, 10-7, in its final game of the season at the Collegiate Water Polo Association Eastern Division Championships on Sunday.
The Crimson (15-19, 4-2 CWPA) beat the Engineers (11-14, 2-4) in its final game of the season after consecutive losses to No. 1-seed Bucknell (17-13, 3-5) and No. 2-seed Brown (28-4, 5-0) on Friday and Saturday in the tournament.
It was Harvard’s second consecutive trip to the Eastern Division Championships and second seventh-place finish in two seasons.
“Coming into the weekend, we believed that we had a shot to win the tournament and go on to NCAAs, but we weren’t overly confident,” senior attacker Antone Martinho said.
According to its players, the Crimson played its best matches all year against the Bison and the Bears, although the team couldn’t find a way to win. Harvard came into the weekend with four injured players, and lost two more to injury against Brown.
Next year, the Crimson will see most players return, losing only Martinho and 2-meter Max Eliot.
“I was very happy ending the season on a win,” Crimson coach Ted Minnis said. “It’s a good way to springboard into next year. We are very excited about the future here.”
HARVARD 10, MIT 7
The Crimson went down, 3-1, in the first quarter but rallied to tie up the game going into the fourth. Sophomore 2-meter John Holland-McCowan scored four goals—three in the fourth quarter—to seal the only victory of the weekend.
“Overall, I’m very happy with the way the guys responded,” Minnis said. “It’s easy to come into the game for seventh place and just not play and go through the motions.”
The Crimson’s defense was anchored by freshman goalkeeper Colin Woolway, who made 13 saves to back up three steals apiece by freshman 2-meter Ben Zepfel and freshman attacker Noah Harrison.
“He made some key blocks in the fourth quarter, and when your goalie makes a big save it feeds everyone else on the defensive end,” Minnis said.
Harvard went 2-2 against the Engineers this season, its most recent encounter ending in a 15-14 sudden-death overtime loss at the Northern Division Championships.
Despite being unable to advance in the tournament, Harvard players say they found some consolation in ending the season on a win.
“MIT is our biggest rival game,” Martinho said. “We go back and forth and no one team wins too many games in a row. We were really pleased to come back with a good, solid win against them.”