The No. 13 Harvard men’s water polo team pulled out two crucial conference victories this weekend over MIT and No. 10 Brown to improve its record to 5-2 in the Northeast Water Polo Conference. The Crimson took down MIT for the second time this season while defeating Brown in overtime after a close loss to the Bears at home a few weeks earlier.
“We played really well,” sophomore Grant Harvey said. “Last time we played these two teams, MIT and Brown, they were in our house and we didn’t play well at all. We kind of took MIT for granted last time and they came out and gave us a game and we decided that that was not going to happen again. From the very first whistle we had this determination to embarrass them in their own house in front of their own fans because of how last game went.”
HARVARD, 9, BROWN, 8
The Crimson took down a ranked opponent for the eighth time this season with its overtime win over the Bears this weekend. The team is now 2-0 in overtime games this year.
Harvard carried over the momentum from its crushing defeat of MIT to the first half of play against Brown. The team entered intermission up 5-3 thanks to two goals from senior Noah Harrison in the second quarter..
“When we headed to Brown we were riding the energy off of MIT and once again with the anger of losing in our house in front of our own fans. We went out there and set the tone,” Harvey said.
In the third quarter, the Bears narrowed their deficit to one as freshman Austin Sechrest recorded the only Harvard goal of the quarter to bring the score to 6-5 in favor of Harvard.
Sophomore Nick Bunn collected his second goal of the game in the fourth quarter while Sechrest scored in the last 15 seconds of regulation play to tie up the game at eight and force overtime.
In the first period of overtime, Sechrest connected with senior Dan Stevens who delivered a shot from the two-meter line for the game-winning goal. Harvard’s defense was able to shut the Bears down for the entire length of the extra session to secure the 9-8 victory.
“Brown was the main focus so we came out and our team was really strong and so everyone was really happy,” sophomore Nathan Ondracek said. “ It was really exciting to win in overtime; it was crazy. A lot of good vibes on the team right now.”
HARVARD, 12, MIT, 3
The last time Harvard faced off against MIT this year the entire match was neck and neck until the Crimson ultimately pulled ahead in the second half of play to win it, 11-8. This time around Harvard was determined to not let it get that close.
The Crimson jumped out to an early 5-0 lead in the first frame of play against the Engineers. The five goals were distributed amongst five players highlighting the depth of Harvard’s offense. By the end of the first half the Crimson increased its lead to 9-1 and ultimately rolled to a dominating 12-3 victory.
Sechrest led the Harvard offense with four goals of his own, while Harrison also impressed with a hat trick. Junior Colin Chiapello also notched two scores.
Between the posts, sophomore Anthony Ridgley tied his career high of 15 saves while also chipping in a game-high four assists. Freshman Nikhil Suri also stopped four shots in the net to keep the Engineers to help secure the win.
—Staff writer Ginny Miller can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.