Crimson Posts All-Time Top Showing at Tourney

William L. Jusino

Co-captain Mike Gerrity scored in the men's water polo team's 9-8 win over rival Brown in the semfinals of the Northern Championships. Harvard finished second, the program's best-ever showing.

After an emotional, sudden-death victory over bitter rival Brown in the semifinals of the Northern Championships this weekend, the Harvard men’s water polo team fell to St. Francis in the program’s first ever Northerns finals, 16-5, yesterday.

After playing two frames of overtime against Brown, the Crimson was ready to end the tense and emotional contest that was heading into sudden death with the teams knotted at 8-8.

With the screams of raucous Brown fans echoing throughout the stands as the ball was dropped into the water, sophomore John Voith dashed to the ball, won the sprint, and took the ball into Bear territory. Co-captain Mike Gerrity drew a valuable ejection to give the Crimson a 6-on-5 power play.

Senior John Lynch then delivered the final blow, netting the winning goal and finally silencing the crowd that had been harassing the Harvard players all game. More importantly, Lynch’s goal secured a place for the Crimson in the championship game against St. Francis.

“We didn’t even give Brown the chance to score,” Voith said, which made the victory especially sweet.

Harvard was unable to control its excitement after the 9-8 win against its most bitter rival, and the whole team jumped into the pool to celebrate, not wanting to leave the water.

Though the Crimson (11-8), physically and emotionally fatigued after the fight against the Bears, dropped the championship game to St. Francis, the loss was eased by the knowledge that a second-place finish is the best that Harvard has ever earned at the Northerns, and a remarkable accomplishment for the squad under first-year coach Erik Farrar.

“It was just awesome to be playing in the championship game,” Voith said. “We all had a real sense of accomplishment.”

In its opening game of the weekend, the Crimson dominated Connecticut College 12-2.


St. Francis, arguably the strongest team in the East, was able to offensively overpower the Crimson. Though the teams played competitively for the first half, the Crimson gave in and stopped executing, allowing the Terriers to widen the gap and keep Harvard from threatening its lead.

“We could’ve helped ourselves by keeping the pace of the game,” co-captain Rick Offsay said, “but we just didn’t play as well as we can.”

The Crimson gave St. Francis the opportunity to score easy goals on the counterattack, and the outstanding Terrier squad took advantage of the chances, going on tears and netting several unanswered goals in a row.

“We were so emotionally drained from our win the night before it was difficult for us to play the game,” Voith said.

Harvard’s five goals came from a slew of different players, with Offsay, sophomore Mike Garcia, and freshmen Michael Byrd, Chris Ludwick and Brian Kuczynski all scoring.