The Harvard men’s water polo team (5-5) opens up conference play this weekend with a busy slate of four games in three days. After a Friday night showdown with local rival MIT (4-6), the Crimson will face Fordham (1-12) and Iona (1-6) at home on Saturday and will conclude the weekend by travelling to take on Connecticut College (1-3).
Although the team has experienced both hot and cold spells so far this season, posting a .500 record in its first three non-conference tournaments, Harvard enters conference play with two consecutive wins under its belt. The Crimson pulled out a decisive, 16-9 victory over Mercyhurst last Saturday and took advantage of a fourth-quarter comeback to defeat George Washington the next day.
“Those were two good wins for us,” junior goalie Jimmy Field said. “We’ve been trying to have good, strong practices and have been getting ourselves pumped up for the MIT game.”
Both Harvard and the Engineers boast three main scoring threats. Rookies Blake Lee, Ben Zepfel, and Noah Harrison have led the Crimson offense so far this season, with 23, 18, and 13 goals, respectively. MIT has relied upon Kale Rogers, Ory Tasman, and Craig Cheney for most of its scoring.
Harvard lost to the Engineers 19-7 on Sept. 1, but the team is excited about getting another shot at MIT before a large crowd.
“MIT is a big rivalry game,” Crimson coach Ted Minnis said. “We split a lot of the time. They’ve already beaten us this year, so it should be a lot of fun, and I think our guys are ready for a tough test against the Engineers.”
After Friday’s matchup, Harvard will face the Rams and the Gaels at Blodgett Pool on Saturday. Both opponents have struggled recently to produce much offense, and Iona has not won since defeating Gannon in its first game of the season.
The Crimson will finish up its opening round of conference play in New London, Conn., by taking on Connecticut College, which has only played four games so far this year.