Last year Harvard's men's water polo team had high hopes going into the Ivy League championships. Last year it battled hard through the tournament. Last year it lost to Brown by two points. And last year it went home happy with its play.
But not this year.
This year Harvard's men's water polo team had high hopes going into the Ivy League championships. This year it battled hard through the tournament. This year it lost to Brown by one point. And this year it went home happy with its play.
"It's been the same story for a couple years now and throughout this year," Coach Don Benson said. "We go to a meet with high expectations, play well and just about accomplish what we wanted to. We've just got to bear down more in close games."
The Crimson came into this weekend's Ivy League tournament as the third seed. In the past it has been the third seed. But the league is better now, the wins less easy to come by.
"The competition is improving in the league," Benson said. "We knew that either us, Yale or Princeton would win, but there was no clearcut favorite."
Saturday's first-round game saw the Crimson take on arch-rival Yale. Yale is not Princeton, nor is it Brown. It was not supposed to be close.
Julian Alexander scored four goals. Jose Busquets scored three goals. Alex Kim scored three goals. The Crimson led 7-0 after the first quarter. The Crimson won, 15-10.
"That wasn't much of a game," Benson said. "We knew we were going to win and we did."
The next game proved more difficult. It was Brown.
Brown, the team that beat it last year. Brown, the team that beat it 14-9 earlier this season. Brown, the second-seeded team in the tournament.
"They've sort of become our rival over the years," Benson said in the preseason. "They've got a great program and they've dominated at the top of the league the past few years."
True to history, it was a barnburner. The Crimson led 2-1 near the outset. The score was tied 3-3 at halftime. The score was tied 6-6 at the end of regulation.