It was all going so well, then it suddenly all went so wrong.
Was it fatigue, mental mistakes, poor communication or the officiating?
Well, each played its own small role to spoil what was on the whole a very good Saturday afternoon for the Harvard's women's water polo team. Facing MIT's A club team--which the Crimson beat last Tuesday, 16-11--in the final game of a tournament it hosted at Blodgett Saturday, Harvard stalled in the final quarter, losing, 11-5.
Things started off well when the Crimson's A squad (Harvard's varsity split into two squads for Saturday's action) came from behind in its first game to beat a much-improved Brown team, 11-10. The B team beat MIT's B club team, 11-7, in its first game and then practically drowned the Engineers in its second game, 18-6. In between the two B team games, MIT easily sank Brown, 9-1.
And in the final matchup of the day--between MIT and Harvard--no team led by more than one goal until the final quarter, when the Engineers went on a run of five unanswered goals to beat the Crimson, 11-5.
In the first game, Harvard's A squad trailed Brown until only 3:41 remained in the game, when Skyler Satanstein--who scored four goals in the game--put Harvard ahead for good with a turn-around from the hole. Tri-Captain Gillian Salton also helped pace the squad with four goals. The Bruins, who spent their spring break working on their game out in California, sported a vastly improved look from the time they were beaten handily by the Crimson in March.
"They were definitely a much improved team than the one we beat before spring break," Tri-Captain Kate Ford said. "It was a good game, and I'm glad we were able to come back."
"MIT had a lot of confidence going into the final game after blowing out Brown," said Hafferty, summing up the problems that plagued his squad in the final quarter against MIT. "We made a lot of mental mistakes on defense, and we weren't communicating well on offense. We just weren't as fresh as we normally are. I don't think I subbed properly in the first of half so we could be fresh for the end. We just couldn't get anything going because we were so tired."
Satanstein helped keep it even by stuffing in four from the hole, but MIT's strong defense kept the Crimson from lighting up the scoreboard.
"It was very frustrating," Satanstein said. "MIT played a great game and shut us down in the hole with really tight defense."
Several players felt that the officiating was tighter than normal and Tri-Captain Ford felt that Harvard had a difficult time adjusting to the way the game was being called. Ford fouled out with three of the team's seven fouls, while the Engineers scored on two four-meter penalty shots given up by the Crimson.
"We weren't reacting the way we were supposed to," Ford said. "The line between a regular foul and an ejection foul is what we have to judge and we weren't used to it. We seemed tense and the new calls didn't help."
THE NOTEBOOK: Next weekend, the entire squad moves down river to MIT to play in an invitational including Queens College, MIT, Brown, Amherst, Mount Holyoke and Wesleyan.