The Harvard men's water polo team is still feeling the pains of the 1997 season. After dropping three of its four games at last weekend's Princeton Invitational, the Crimson saw much of the same result on Wednesday night when it fell to the Bears of Brown, 12-8.
"We're starting to play better as a team," said Harvard Coach Don Benson '88. "Brown is just a strong team and they have defeated a lot of top teams in the East."
Indeed Brown has proven to be the thorn in many an Eastern team's side, but Harvard has shown hints of taming the Bears. In both contests this year, for example, the Crimson has fallen by a mere margin of four goals.
"We know them pretty well," Benson said. "But they are a team that will exploit mistakes, and we didn't take care of the ball, and we made too many turnovers."
Harvard learned once again how much a difference seven minutes can make. After a 1-1 deadlock ushered in the beginning of the second quarter, the Crimson players swam back to the bench for halftime with a disappointing 5-2 deficit staring them in the face.
"We're trying to point out the positives," Benson said.
Coach Benson needs to look no further than senior goaltender Ed Chen and captain Andy Davis. Both have stepped up their levels of play in the absence of All-American Mike Zimmerman, who is out for the remainder of the season with torn ligaments in his right hand. Davis contributed a goal Wednesday night and continues to spur on a team which has been dealt a hardy hand of adversity thus far in the season.
"Andy has been really stepping up," Benson said. "Earlier [in the season] a lot of little injuries hurt our starting lineup so it kept changing all the time. Now people are starting to play together."
Harvard's next challenge will take it away from Cambridge to face St. Francis on Saturday.