If at first you don't suceed...try, try again.
That's the motto the Harvard men's water polo team will use this weekend when the Crimson travels down 1-95 to compete in the New England League Championships at Brown in Providence, R.I.
The Crimson (16-5), despite being ranked as high as 19th in the nation this year, has been unable to challenge the mighty Bruin squad, which has dominated the East in recent years.
Harvard fought the Bruins to a tough 11-7 loss three weeks ago in Providence at the Ivy League Championships but was pummelled two weeks ago at a New England League Tourney at Blodgett Pool--falling behind 10-0 before eventually losing, 10-5.
"This weekend will be a good litmus test for us in terms of Easterns next week," said Harvard Co-Captain Steve Dodge, who has served the team as an assistant coach this year because of a back injury, which has kept him out of action. "We have to find out if what we are trying to improve on is ready. Of course, we are anticipating the Brown game most."
The Crimson will play games this weekend against three of five New England League foes it has become accustomed to playing this year. Harvard will probably play Brown in the tournament championship. Against the other squads in the competition, Harvard is 4-0 against MIT this year, 3-0 against Boston College, 2-0 against UMass and 1-0 against Yale.
Senior goalie Greg Beber leads the Harvard defense. Beber will be looking for a return to form after surrendering seven first-half goals to Brown two weeks ago and 10 first-half goals in the Crimson's 15-12 overtime win over MIT last Thursday night.
Beber and an aggressive Harvard defense held the Engineers to only two goals in the second half and both overtime periods. Freshman Kio Lippitt will try to bolster the holedefense position after MIT's Will Schrorr punished the Crimson with seven goals from the hole-setter position last week.
With five freshman (Todd Forman, Peter Richards, Steve Kan, Mike Johnson and Lippitt) starting along with sophomore John Marshall, it's not surprising that the Crimson scoring leader board is highlighted by Yardlings.
Richard's 40 goals set the pace, followed by Forman with 29, Johnson with 28, junior Co-Captain Eric Bentley with 23, Andy Freed with 21 and Marshall with 19.
Well-rested after receiving last weekend off, Harvard will use this week as a warmup for next weekend's Eastern Championships, also to be held at Brown.
To qualify for the NCAA Championships, Harvard would have to finish as one of the top two teams in the Easterns. Four teams (Brown, Navy, Washington & Lee and Bucknell) currently are ranked ahead of the Crimson.
"It may be a bad attitude, but we're focusing on next week," Dodge said. "We have to get psyched up for Easterns."