Men's Water Polo
For the first time in roughly a year and a half, Harvard Athletics is back. Four teams took to the pool, field, and court across campus as fans cheered them on in an action-packed weekend after the first days of classes.
It has been almost a year and a half since the pandemic stopped Ivy League competition, sent Harvard students home, and flipped the world upside down — but Harvard men’s water polo is finally back in the pool together and looking ahead to its first competition in 644 days.
Even after four years of evading opponents in Blodgett Pool as a Harvard undergraduate, former Men’s Water Polo player Joseph H. Kaufman ’89 had never taken on a physical task as daunting as swimming the nearly 30-mile loop around Manhattan. That is until this summer, when Kaufman decided to take the plunge through the turbulent tides of the East, Harlem, and Hudson Rivers in New York City.
“I don’t think there was a feeling of anxiety or nervousness around the team, but I think that people definitely knew the pressure that was on us,” sophomore goalie Noah Hodge said. “Preparation-wise, everyone knew we just had to go out there and do what we’ve been doing all year.”
Now it is the first team to go undefeated in the Northeast Water Polo Conference regular season and tournament, with a historic 29-0 record.
Harvard carried its momentum from last week’s Princeton Invite into this weekend’s slate of dominance. The squad’s current win streak of nine games is one shy of the longest streak in college history.
Sophomore goalie Noah Hodge defends a shot from close range. Harvard’s defense held strong in the close victory against UC San Diego, and Hodge, who was named NWPC Defensive Player of the Week last week, recorded an assist to go along with ten saves against the Tritons.
No. 12 Harvard men’s water polo (5-0, 0-0 NWPC) took home three wins this weekend in Princeton, N.J., at the annual Princeton Invite.
Junior attacker Dennis Blyashov winds up for a shot. The second contest of the weekend took place at eight o’clock in the morning, but the Crimson attack appeared unfazed by the early start time. Blyashov and sophomore attacker Alex Tsotadze both tallied four goals, and sophomore attacker Michael Sonsini poured in a pair while Hodge had two assists.
So it was all the more heartbreaking when, after skirting past Brown, 11-10, Harvard fell to Princeton in the NEWPC championship, 12-10.