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The men's water polo team entered the match on Saturday at Blodgett Pool as the underdog against Queens College--the team favored to be the Eastern Champions.
It was not too surprising, then that Harvard lost 13-7.
Harvard (8-15, 3-1 EWPA) was dominated by a powerful offense and defense for the majority of the match. After less than a minute and a half into the first quarter, Queens scored its first goal. This was followed by a quick succession of four goals for Queens, who plowed through Harvard's defense.
"We came out really slowly and early mistakes against good teams get exploited," said Harvard Coach Don Benson '88.
With four seconds remaining in the first quarter, junior Andy Davis put the Crimson on the board to close the quarter at 5-1.
Harvard emerged in the second quarter more prepared and more team-oriented. Within 50 seconds, freshman Jeremy Katz--with an assist by senior Marty Edlund--scored Harvard's second goal.
The Crimson, displaying tough defense and skillful passing, continued the momentum with an unassisted goal by Edlund. Just 30 seconds later, sophomore Dror Bar-Ziv passed the ball to (class year) Grant Carrigues, who scored a fourth Crimson goal to narrow Queens lead by one, 5-4.
The Crimson's three-goal momentum was interrupted, however, when a substitution mistake occurred. When a Harvard player was waived into the game before the referee's signal, Queens scored a two-point violation goal to regain a three-point lead, 7-4.
Queens quickly took advantage of the Harvard mental lapse, following with four consecutive goals by the end of the second quarter to increase its lead to 11-4.
In the third quarter, Harvard regained its composure and displayed its resilience by not allowing Queens to score throughout the seven-minute quarter.
"One of the good things is that we did not roll over and quit after the seven-point deficit where earlier in the season we would have," Benson said.
In the last quarter, although Queens opened with a quick goal within the first minute, Harvard continued to maintain its focus and apply a steady balanced attack.
Bar Ziv helped the Crimson cause with an unassisted goal to make the score 11-6. After another goal by Queens, Davis converted on a breakaway and scored Harvard's seventh goal.
With two minutes left on the clock, Harvard's frustration showed when Bar Ziv became involved in a punching conflict with a Queens player and both were ejected from the game.
This act emphasized the aggressive and often illegal play of the game.
"Queens College is one of the most physical teams in the league," Benson said.
Aside from Bar Ziv's ejection, junior starter Tom Chalberg also felt the effects of the physical play when he was ejected after three violations early in the contest.
"Rough play cost us players at crucial times throughout the game," Benson added.
Despite the loss, both the team and coach were impressed by the team's level of consistency during a tough match.
Harvard has its last chance to show its prowess next weekend against Brown. The winner will then advance to Eastern Nationals for a spot in the NCAA playoffs.
"The way we played today will hopefully carry over to next weekend," said Bar Ziv. "We are very optimistic about the season's end."
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