After opening its weekend at the Princeton Invitational with a win on Friday night, the Harvard men’s water polo team (3-4) could not fend off its opponents on Saturday and Sunday, dropping the final three games of the tournament.
Giving up first-half runs to three straight opponents, the Crimson could not recover in the tournament’s final games, including two against ranked foes in No. 13 Princeton and No. 3 California.
But the tournament did showcase the talent of the underclassmen, who led the team’s attack all weekend.
“We are a young team, so there’s a lot of maturity that needs to be developed,” junior co-captain Will Roller said. “But we are only two weeks in. Progress has been made, certainly, but I don’t think anyone on the team is happy with our record and our performance in the games. We all know we can do a lot better, and everyone is willing to work and put in the time for that.”
Freshman Blake Lee led the way offensively with 11 goals on the weekend.
“[The freshmen] are truly an impact class,” Roller said said. “[Lee] stepped up this weekend, [freshman] Noah Harrison the weekend before. Overall, there is a lot of speed [in the freshman class], and that’s improving our game because we are able to swim with a team…that in years past had been able to counterattack us up and down the pool.”
Lee believes the weekend’s effect on team chemistry will pay dividends down the road.
“We have so much potential and talent after these past two weekends,” he said. “I’m really excited for the rest of the season and looking forward for what we can do.”
JOHNS HOPKINS 8, HARVARD 5
In the final matchup of the weekend, Harvard took on a veteran Johns Hopkins squad. After giving up an early run to its opponent, Harvard was unable to pull even despite a third-quarter rally, falling 8-5.
For the third straight game, Harvard surrendered a first-half run, as the Blue Jays raced out to a 6-2 lead by the end of the first two periods.
The Crimson responded in the third, shutting out the Johns Hopkins offense and scoring two goals of its own. But the Blue Jays retook the momentum, outpacing the Crimson, 2-1, in the final frame.
Freshman Blake Lee finished with two goals, bringing his season total to 22.
NO. 3 CALIFORNIA 13, HARVARD 7
After keeping pace with one of the nation’s best squads in the first period, the Crimson surrendered debilitating runs preceding and following halftime, and the the Bears (5-0) handed Harvard its second Saturday defeat to a ranked opponent.