In its third conference game of the season Wednesday night, the Harvard women’s water polo team (10-9, 2-1 CWPA) defeated Brown, 7-5, in front of a raucous home crowd at Blodgett Pool.
The Crimson victory over the Bears marks its fifth win over its Ivy League rival out of six total meetings over the past three seasons.
The Bears (11-7, 3-2 CWPA) were coming off a four-game winning streak at the Marist Invite, highlighted by a 7-5 victory against No. 10 Michigan.
Harvard also faced tough competition during its spring break trip to California last week.
Although the team did not claim any victories over its recent ranked opponents, the Crimson lost to No. 14 UC Santa Barbara by one goal and to Cal Baptist by a narrow margin of two.
According to Harvard coach Ted Minnis, both teams’ recent successes against big-name squads set the stage for an important matchup against the Bears last night.
"We can play with these teams," Minnis said. "Brown beat Michigan a couple weeks ago—they got three votes in the top 20 this week. For us to come in to have confidence…that we got in California is huge for us."
Harvard’s win over Brown puts the team back over a .500 record and in position to qualify for the upcoming CWPA Southern Division Championship and the CWPA Eastern Championship.
The crowd at Blodgett Pool was active, and active early, creating a playoff-like atmosphere as the Crimson and Brown traded blows.
Numerous Harvard supporters donned body paint as chants of Crimson support echoed throughout the building.
"It is huge to have fans at the game and it just means the world to us," co-captain Devan Kennifer said. "It pumps us all up…especially having such a loud and energetic crowd."
Harvard struck the first blow of the game, when senior attacker Monica Zdrojewski netted a goal three minutes into the first period.
But points were hard to come by as flurries of shots from both teams hit posts or were deflected by the outspread arms of defenders.
"We weren’t patient enough on our offense," Kennifer said. "We had a lot of turnovers, we were a little bit sloppy with our passing, [and] we didn’t protect the ball. But we stayed calm and powered through."