With a 3-1 record at the UMass-Amherst tournament this past weekend, the Harvard women's water polo (9-4) team is looking good as it prepares for a tough Ivy League tournament this weekend at Brown.
Harvard earned victories against Williams, Brown and Dartmouth. The win against the Brown was an important victory, as the Bears defeated the Crimson last year. However, the biggest game of the weekend was against rival and host UMass-Amherst.
"When we play UMass they have the band playing, and they usually draw over 100 fans," said junior Mary Naber. "There is a lot of screaming in the water and out."
This year's match-up was no different, as the two teams battled amidst raucous fans. However, Harvard was not able to keep up with the powerful UMass squad, as the Minutemen handed the Crimson its lone loss of the weekend.
"The competition has really improved," said senior co-captain Amy Miller. "We've been playing pretty well, but we need to pull together."
Before their tourney at Amherst, the Crimson enjoyed a relaxing and water polo filled spring break in California. Harvard dropped games to tough teams from USC, Occidental (8-5) and Indiana (9-8) before defeating Whittier (13-4) and Pomona (11-6) to finish the break with a 2-3 record.
"We had a hard week of training between these two tournaments," said senior co-captain Missy Ford. "It really paid off, because we have improved a lot."
With the experience it gained from these two tournaments, Harvard is now looking to turn up its play when it travels to Brown this weekend for the Ivy League Tournament.
"We will face some strong teams like Dartmouth, Brown and Princeton," said Miller. "We don't really have a regular Ivy League schedule, and unless we make nationals, we only have three weeks left in our season, so this tournament is very big."
After the Ivy League tournament, the Crimson will travel to Williams for the Northeastern tournament. It is this tournament that sets the seedings for the Eastern tournament the following weekend at Harvard. From this tourney, the top three teams advance to Nationals.
A strong performance this weekend would make a statement to the rest of the league, while also propelling Harvard through the rest of its season.