Maybe what you don't know can't hurt you.
The Harvard women's water polo team didn't know what to expect from Colgate before the two teams faced off last night in the opening day of the Eastern Championships at Blodgett Pool.
After the 19-4 blowout, that has certainly changed.
"We really didn't know how good or bad they were going to be," senior Anne-Marie Sevcsik admitted after the game.
They do now.
Colgate was the New York Division champion but had not played any of the other seven teams at Easterns (which also draws from the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast Divisions).
The tournament seeded the Red Raiders fifth by default more than anything--putting them lower would be unfair, as it would place them behind a team that finished third in its division; but putting them higher was unwarranted.
Harvard was the No. 4 seed (and placed in Pool A, along with No. 1 Slippery Rock and No. 8 Princeton), so that meant that the Crimson would be the proverbial guinea pig.
The experiment was pretty much over by the second quarter. After getting out to a 5-1 lead in the first, co-captain Missy Ford took over the game, tallying five of her game-high eight goals as Harvard outscored Colgate 7-0 in the period to take a commanding lead.
The method was simple. The Crimson's swimmers were quite a bit faster than the Red Raiders', and Harvard's perimeter defense forced Colgate to make sloppy turnovers whenever it had the ball.
This would create fast-break opportunities for the Crimson, which would be exacerbated by the team's speed advantage and lead to lots of easy scores.
Put simply, most of the game consisted of some Harvard player (usually Ford) treading water in front of the Colgate goal with the ball and not a defender in sight.
"It was good that we ran the fast break a lot," Harvard coach Maureen Travers said. "Mary [Naber] had to work on that--she needed to work on controlling the ball."
Naber, also a Crimson editor, created many of these chances. A former member of the Harvard swim team, the junior captured all three of her opening sprints (quarters begin with each team racing towards the middle of the pool to get the ball), and Naber started many of the fast breaks as well.
Other than Ford, the Crimson's scorers were Sevcsik (three), Leslie Bennett (two), Naber (two), Amanda Moger (two), Olivia Denton (one) and Ingrid Anderson (one).