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At the beginning of the season, the pool was just a dark, scary hole where the Harvard men's water polo team (3-2) would sink more then it would swim.
The moon must have shifted in the past few days, however, because the tide has changed--the pool is looking less threatening, and the Crimson is actually winning.
At the Navy Invitational this weekend, Harvard got sunk only by the host team while defeating both Washington & Lee and Bucknell.
In the final game of the Invitational, Harvard withstood a 5-1 run in the third quarter by Bucknell and held on for a tough 12-8 victory.
Uncharacteristic of the team thus far in the season, the Crimson broke out to an early 6-2 lead over the Bison.
With five-and-a-half minutes to go in the third quarter, Harvard appeared to have the game under control until Bucknell exploded and cut its deficit to only one at 9-8.
The tide changed for good, however, when junior goalie Ed Chen made two great saves to neutralize Bucknell for good. Junior Andy Davis and senior Dan Arbalaez put the finishing touches on the 12-8 win.
"For a short time against Bucknell, we came unglued and needed Eddie to make some big saves," Harvard coach Don Benson '88 said. "He broke up two fast break counterattacks that kept us ahead before Andy tallied the goal to put us back in control."
Navy proved to be the one invincible force, as it plowed through Harvard 12-7. Exploding for a 5-0 lead in the early going, Navy displayed all of its weapons.
"We had been able to watch Navy play before our game, and they are a very large and very good team," junior Marty Edlund said. "I think that we went into the game a little intimidated, and then we just couldn't convert."
A convincing win for Harvard, however, came against the weaker Washington & Lee squad. Powered by sophomore Mike Zimmerman (five goals) and senior captain Jonathan Gill (three goals), the Crimson was able to gain confidence for the rest of the season.
"Our team is starting to believe that we can compete with anyone in the East," Benson said. "They key for us is to come out and play good aggressive polo in the first quarter of games. We didn't do that against either Brown or Navy but later were able to show we can play even with them."
Harvard's next challenge--MIT. In a wind-down game, the team will meet up for the second time this season against the Engineers.
Considering that in its last meeting, Harvard plundered the Engineers 23-6, the game is far from daunting for the Crimson. The biggest challenge for the Crimson should be to continue playing the high level water polo which they displayed at Navy.
"Against MIT we just need to play our game from the beginning till the end," Edlund said.
So the calm of the storm has hit the Harvard water polo team and hopefully the winning waves are here to stay. No storms are in site--at least not yet.
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