Road Trip Shows Struggles

In four games against Californian opponents, Harvard goes 1-3

Meghan T. Purdy

Two was the key number this weekend for Spencer Livingston (top), shown here in earlier action, who score twice in two games—in a 9-6 loss to Pomona and in a 9-3 win against Occidental.

The Golden State did not look kindly upon the Harvard men’s water polo team, which faced a grueling schedule this past weekend and lost four straight games.

On Friday, the Crimson dropped its first game against California Baptist, 9-4, but rebounded later that day to take the nightcap against Occidental with a score of 9-3.

Harvard had no rest as it faced another two highly rated teams on Saturday.

Neither game went the Crimson’s way as it dropped its first game against Pomona, 9-6, and lost the final match to No. 18 Redlands, 15-9.


In the nightcap, the Crimson trailed early as Redlands jumped out to a 4-1 lead in the first quarter. A rally brought the Harvard squad within one point at 4-3.

Following the comeback, the teams traded goals in a tit-for-tat game that lasted until midway through the third quarter.

From that point on, the Bulldogs controlled the game, breaking away from a 7-5 advantage to take the win.

“We just got beat by a better team in our nightcap,” Crimson coach Eric Farrar said, “and they made great use of their scoring opportunities.”

Freshman Nikhil Balaraman did his best to stifle Redlands’ scoring chances with ten saves in the net. The foursome of sophomore David Tune, senior Michael Garcia, and juniors Michael Byrd and Chris Ludwick provided two goals apiece.


On Saturday afternoon, the Crimson’s match-up against Pomona played out like many other games this season. The team managed to play well for the first few minutes, but Harvard cannot hold on for the win.

“We’re at the point where our mistakes cost us goals,” said Farrar in an earlier interview. “We just have to play 32 minutes of our best.”

The game slipped away from the Crimson as Pomona found the net three straight times after minutes of close play. Prior to the offensive flurry, neither team held a lead larger than two goals.

Harvard had its share of opportunities to pull away with the victory. The Crimson drew nine-man advantages throughout the game, two of which came in the final four minutes, but failed to convert on either of them.

Freshman Spencer Livingston, senior John Voith, and Garcia all recorded deuces in the effort.

Livingston also caused four of the nine ejections in the game. Sophomore keeper Jay Connolly made 13 saves to slow the Pomona offense.


Later that day, the Crimson pulled out to an early advantage once again—this time for good.

“I am pleased with our efforts in the nightcap,” Farrar said. “We really played nice defense and got some timely goalkeeping as well.”

Harvard took a 5-2 advantage into the half and continued to control the game until the final whistle. The Crimson defense allowed only one goal in the entire second half while adding four more goals to its lead.

Voith and Livingston led the Crimson with two tallies each while five other Crimson players recorded a single goal.

Balaraman frustrated the Occidental offense, saving ten shots in the match.


Against Cal Baptist, the Crimson played evenly for the first minutes of the match. But 11 different man advantages for Cal Baptist took their toll on Harvard. The many chances proved too much for the Crimson.

The Lancers dealt the first blow of the game, scoring with 1:30 remaining in the first period. Harvard quickly turned the tables, though, as Garcia and freshman Egan Atkinson added one apiece to end the quarter.

The Crimson remained in control when the second frame opened, as Tune, who led Harvard with two goals total, increased the advantage to 3-1. But the game would soon take a sharp turn. With 34 seconds left in the second quarter, Mike Looy netted a goal to end the half 3-2. That marked the beginning of a 5-0 run for Cal Baptist.

The Lancers’ Jon Miller kept the goal under lock and key while Looy and Ryan Steiger added two tallies to the scoreboard.

On the other side, sophomore Jay Connolly hindered Cal Baptist with six saves in the match.

After a weekend in foreign waters, the Crimson will return to action at Blodgett Pool this Thursday at 8 p.m. to face off against Brown.

—Staff writer Vincent R. Oletu can be reached at