W. Water Polo Streak Continues at UMass

The Harvard women's water polo team continued its undefeated season over the weekend at the Eastern League Tournament played at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst.

Playing in the northeastern side of the Northern Division bracket, the Crimson (8-0 overall, 1-0 Ivy) beat Dartmouth 22-4, Amherst 27-4, Wellesley 22-3, and finally bludgeoned MIT 18-1.

While the competition was weak, Harvard worked on aspects of its game that will need to be well-honed against upcoming tougher competition.

"We weren't really worried about losing," senior Erin Pyka said. "But the scores were important, because we were setting up our offense. We didn't fast-break. Sometimes, our coach [Maureen Travers] wouldn't let us shoot until there were 10 seconds left on the clock."

Sophomore Missy Ford once again led the team in scoring, notching 21--eerily, also her uniform number--goals over the four games. But Harvard's scoring was well-balanced, something that will come in handy as the season progresses.


"For the first time, we didn't have to rely on Missy," Pyka said. "There was a lot of scoring from the field. Amy Miller played especially well."

Harvard next plays at the Brown Tournament April 14-15, and the competition there will be on a different plane from what has come before it. Brown, for example, is one of the top teams in the Northern Division.

"These games [this past weekend] didn't really challenge us," Pyka said. "But against Brown and Princeton next weekend, we'll see challenges. Those games will give us an idea of where we'll be in the Northern Division. If things go as planned, we will finish first in the Northern Division."

According to Pyka, offense will be the key to how Harvard fares.

"Our defense is really strong," she said. "How we play on offense will really determine how good we will be. This past weekend was great because we got to really work on our set-offense."

The Northern Division playoffs will take place April 21-23 at Harvard, and the top four teams go on to the Eastern Championships at Brown April 28-30. The top one or two teams from those championships are picked to play in the NCAA Championships.

Harvard, which finished a disappointing fourth at the Eastern Championships last year, has set its goal as reaching water polo's big dance.

"Our goal is to make it to the nationals," Pyka said.