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Water Polo Earns City Bragging Rights

California trip bolsters level of play

CAMBRIDGE, MA—Coming off a tough weekend in California, the Harvard men’s water polo team showed off the hard-fought skills it earned in the Golden State, stomping MIT 11-5.

This victory is the second of the season for the Crimson against the cross-town rivals, as Harvard beat the Beavers 6-4.

No. 15 Harvard (9-4, 3-1) looked impressive in the pool, dominating MIT (9-7, 3-2) on both the offensive and defensive ends of the game. Senior Istavan Zollei had an impressive night as he scored four goals.

“This is the best we have played all season,” said coach Jim Floerchinger. “The speed of play we got used to in California was carried over here.”

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Several players on the team noted that the opposition in California was much stronger, bigger and had faster shots, forcing Harvard to step up its game.

Against the Beavers, the Crimson jumped out to an early lead, scoring six goals while allowing only one in the first half. Harvard continued its dominance through the third quarter, shutting MIT out and scoring four more goals of its own.

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Junior Todd Schulte and co-captain Alex Fisher each had multiple-goal games. Schulte notched two in the first 14 minutes, while Fisher had a goal in both halves.

Though the Crimson controlled the momentum for the majority of the game, it seemed to let down in the fourth quarter. MIT mounted a short-lived comeback, out scoring Harvard 4-1 in the last seven minutes of the game. But the Beavers’ last-minute heroics were due more to Harvard’s attempt to get every player in to the game, and not to MIT’s vast improvement in the match.

“The goals at the end of the game were more of a result of lucky opportunities, not defensive lapses,” freshman goalkeeper Robbie Burmeister said.

Burmeister, who split time with senior goalie Paul Tselentis, had six saves on 10 shots on goal in the second half.

Though the game was out of reach by halftime, MIT coach Jeff Ma continued to work the sides of the pool, yelling at the officials to eject several Harvard players, including Schulte.

“At the end of the game, we weren’t going to get any favors from the ref,” Floerchinger said. “Besides, he’s a coach, and supposed to work the refs.”

Though the Crimson has the weekend off, it is set on performing well at next week’s ECAC championship, to be held at the Naval Academy in Annapolis, Md.

“We’re looking to work hard in the coming week to prepare so that we can go in to the ECAC and play to the best of our ability,” Burmeister said.

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