It was open water for Brown junior Emily McNamara as the clock wound down under 30 seconds. The senior, isolated against Harvard goalie junior Ariel Dukes, put the game with her third goal of the night and the 13th of the night for the Brown’s women’s water polo team.
Despite a strong first period, the Crimson (12-14, 1-1 CWPA) was unable to keep up with Brown (14-12, 2-0), losing to the Bears by a final score of 13-9.
“We didn’t score enough goals,” Harvard coach Ted Minnis said. “I thought we came out and played a good first quarter. We had a few defensive breakdowns in the last three quarters.”
Both teams are coming off of California road trips, though with varying degrees of success. The Crimson finished 3-7 with victories against Cal Lutheran and Pomona-Pitzer, while the Bears finished 8-4 against its West Coast foes.
Since returning East, Harvard had been on a two-game win streak, defeating George Washington and James Madison. The Crimson notched 10 goals in each match as they earned its first victory in divisional play against the Colonials.
In the match against George Washington, sophomore Yoshi Andersen lead the way in scoring, and she did not let up against Brown. Andersen had five of the team’s nine goals to bring her season total to 58. The first two of her five opened the match to give Harvard an early lead, but it would not be able to hold on.
Overall the Crimson outscored the Bears 3-1 in the first period. Andersen’s first goal came off of a power play that ended with the ball in the back left corner of the Brown net. A little over two minutes later, she scored again to put the Crimson up 2-0. The Bears finally made it on to the board with 1:57 seconds left in the quarter.
However, as the game continued, Brown got into a scoring groove and Harvard couldn’t keep up.
“We felt like going into it we could have beat them,” senior Shayna Price said. “We came out strong and then a lot of things just sort of steamrolled on us and it didn’t turn out the way we wanted it to.”
The Bears would go on to score four goals in each of the subsequent three periods. The scoring was spread out amongst six different players, with McNamara and junior Liz Rosen leading the Bears with three goals each. Kate Woods, Shannon Crowley, and Marisa Kolokotronis notched two apiece, and Sarah Presant scored once in the fourth period to finish the scoring for Brown.
“We were trying to steal the ball and go down the other way and score,” Price said. “We wanted strong defense, but it didn’t turn out the way we wanted it to.”
As the Brown scoring heated up, Harvard’s offense slowed. The Crimson put two shots past Bear goalie Sarah Shin in the second period, followed by three in the third.
Down just one goal going into the fourth period, the Crimson was still in striking distance during the final minutes. With several possessions giving it the chance to set up and pass the ball around for an open shot, the Crimson was only able to connect on Price’s shot with 3:42 left, but it would be the last score Harvard tallied and not enough to match Brown’s four scores in the frame.
The Crimson attempted to adjust in the final few minutes after both teams took multiple timeouts, but Harvard was unable to capitalize.
‘We practice those situations and being down a certain number of goals with time left,” Minnis said. “It’s stuff we always talk about in practice, it’s just reinforcing what they’re supposed to do in those situations.”
Aside from Andersen’s five goals and Price’s one, senior Jelena Cyr and freshman Melissa Balding, and freshman Alexis Del Toro each added a score apiece.
“We’re always making adjustments during the game, we change up our sets pretty regularly,” Minnis said. “[There was] nothing that we didn’t see in the scouts and watching film on them. They were pretty much doing everything that we knew they were going to do they just did it a little better than we were able to stop defense wise.”
Dukes made five saves in net while Price led the way in steals with three, but the Crimson was consistently outnumbered by Bears on the defensive end.
“We just really wanted to come out strong and play mistake free,” Price said. “Our shots just didn’t really fall and a lot of things resulted in goals on their side.”
—Staff writer Theresa C. Hebert can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.