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Weekend Road Trip Results in Two Defeats to Iona, Fordham

Co-captain Kevin DiSylvestro, shown above in previous action, scored two goals against Iona but his efforts were in vain, as the Crimson was outscored, 13-4. Harvard tried to bounce back the next day against Fordham but couldn’t outlast the Rams in a close battle, 10-9.
Co-captain Kevin DiSylvestro, shown above in previous action, scored two goals against Iona but his efforts were in vain, as the Crimson was outscored, 13-4. Harvard tried to bounce back the next day against Fordham but couldn’t outlast the Rams in a close battle, 10-9.
By Marina E Watson, Contributing Writer

After being blown out of the water by Iona on Saturday morning, Harvard rallied to put up a fight in a back-and-forth battle against Fordham that afternoon. The Crimson (4-7, 0-2 CWPA) still left the weekend winless and 0-2 in its first games of Collegiate Water Polo Association conference play.

The Gaels (5-7, 1-1) overwhelmed Harvard in a crushing 13-4 blow to start the weekend. While the Crimson found a much more even match in the Rams (5-9, 2-0) that afternoon, it was Fordham that pulled ahead, scoring a late goal to narrowly defeat Harvard, 10-9.

The Crimson welcomed co-captain Luka Babic back to the pool after he sustained an injury to his eye in a double overtime victory against George Washington on Sept. 10 that left him with 15 stitches.

“It was great to have [Luka] back,” senior goalie Alex Popp said. “He is a leader on and off the court.”

But even with the return of the powerhouse attacker, Harvard was unable to seal the deal in this season’s first conference outings.

FORDHAM 10, HARVARD 9

Coming off a blowout earlier that morning, the Crimson turned things around in its second match of the day.

“We rebounded well from Iona … We really regrouped,” Popp said.

Harvard and Fordham exchanged goals throughout the game, and at the half, the Crimson narrowly trailed the Rams, 7-6.

Harvard entered the fourth period again trailing by one point, 8-7, but only seconds into the quarter, the score was knotted at eight goals apiece.

Each team scored again to bring the score to an even nine goals with four minutes left in the half.

With 44 seconds remaining, the Rams seized an opportunity to put one away on a Harvard penalty and snuck ahead of the Crimson, 10-9.

Harvard would go on to have a single opportunity to answer and compel Fordham into overtime. But sophomore utility Will Roller’s shot—taken with 11 seconds remaining on the clock—skipped over the cage and the Rams claimed victory.

Although the visitors did not come out on top, Harvard coach Ted Minnis praised his team’s effort in the close match.

“It would have been easy to just give up after the previous game [against Iona] … but I was proud how our boys battled out there [against Fordham] and stayed in it until the very end,” Minnis said.

Despite the unfavorable result, Popp also found the silver lining in his team’s resilience.

“It was a loss, but [it was] a moral victory.”

IONA 13, HARVARD 4

While Harvard struggled to adjust to the non-regulation size pool, the Gaels found themselves at home, mercilessly putting away goal after unanswered goal.

“[Iona] has a different set-up,” Roller said. “We weren’t able to adapt.”

But Minnis found the pool to be no excuse for Harvard’s less-than-stellar performance.

“There were few things we did well [against Iona] to be honest,” said Minnis. “Their offense didn’t do anything surprising … We just didn’t get it together out there.”

Whatever the issue was, Iona outworked the Crimson on both sides of the pool.

Despite five saves from Popp and another nine from sophomore goalie Jimmy Field, the Crimson was unable to avert the potent Gael offense and was outscored by nine points.

With two weeks before its home opener against MIT, Harvard has an opportunity to return to the drawing board.

This weekend’s pair of losses highlighted that there will not be a shortage of things to work on in the practices leading up to its five-game stretch of home games.

“We are going to go back into preseason mode,” Minnis said. “We are going to rework every component of the game.”

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Men's Water Polo