On a two-game road trip this past Sunday, the Harvard men’s water polo team (7-7, 4-3 CWPA) easily handled Connecticut College (0-8, 0-5), winning 16-7, but fell short at No. 12 Brown (13-3, 7-0), 16-12, in what amounted to a day of pretty familiar results.
Earlier this season, Harvard cruised past the Camels, 17-5, but lost a heartbreaker to the Bears, 10-9, on a deflected last-second shot in overtime. This time around, a seven-goal fourth-quarter rally against Brown still was not enough for the Crimson to pull off the upset.
“We played well, but we’ve got some work to do,” said sixth-year coach Ted Minnis. “We’re not peaking at this point.”
BROWN 16, HARVARD 12
The Crimson rode its balanced offensive and defensive effort against Connecticut College into Providence to face the Bears, taking a 4-3 first-quarter lead on goals by co-captain Ben Zepfel, junior defenseman Dan Stevens, junior co-captain Joey Colton, and freshman attacker Grayson Judge.
But Brown junior goalie Luke Weiser shut the game down after that, allowing only one more goal through the second and third quarters, frustrating the Harvard offense and enabling the Bears offense to go on a 9-1 run, at one point scoring seven goals in a row. Weiser finished the game with 17 saves.
Senior Crimson goalie Colin Woolway, meanwhile, was unable to stop the onslaught, recording only one save in the second quarter.
“We have to tighten things up defensively, especially on our help defense,” Minnis said. “We could use a little more work on our special teams.”
Down 12-5 heading into the final period of play, Harvard surged forward once again with another balanced attack, rallying with pairs of goals from Zepfel, Colton, and senior attacker Blake Lee, in addition to another from Judge, but the late surge fell short as Harvard was unable to overcome the deficit.
“We definitely don’t give up,” Stevens said. “Despite whatever the score says, we go out there and fight for the goal every single time.”
The Crimson’s leading scorer, senior attacker Noah Harrison, was kept off the scoreboard, but Zepfel, Colton, and Lee all ended the game with hat tricks.
For Brown, sophomore standout Tyler Kirchberg scored a game-high five goals, while junior utility man Warren Smith netted a hat trick.
The Crimson remains at .500 overall on the season, but the squad has won three of its last four and six of its last nine matches. The loss dropped Harvard to 4-3 in conference play ahead of its match against MIT and the Ivy championships next weekend.
“We’ll get some rest tonight, get back to practice early tomorrow, watch some film, and figure out where we need to tighten up our phases of the game,” Minnis said.
Men's Water Polo Tallies Two Conference Victories
Men's Water Polo Opens Season at Bruno ClassicFollowing losses to nationally-ranked opponents Bucknell and Stanford, Harvard recorded its first win of 2015 on Sunday.
Men's Water Polo Beats Princeton, Fall in Ivy Championship MatchThe Harvard men’s water polo team extended a streak and snapped another before finishing second at the Ivy League Championships this weekend.
Men's Water Polo Sweeps Away Three Conference OpponentsAfter winning all five games at the Santa Clara Bronco Invite last weekend, the Crimson recorded two victories on Saturday and one on Sunday at home to improve its winning streak to eight.
Women's Water Polo Closes Record Season at CWPA Championship TournamentHarvard opened the tournament with a loss to No. 17 Princeton before defeating Connecticut College and George Washington. With a fifth-place finish on the line, however, the injury-plagued Crimson fell in its season-finale to No. 20 Bucknell, by four goals, to settle for a sixth-place finish.