Harvard men’s water polo finished the Halloween weekend with two more wins against Brown University and MIT. The Crimson are back on a two-game winning streak after going 2-2 the previous weekend on their trip to California, where they put up a good fight against a host of top-ten ranked opponents.
“I think I speak for everyone that our trips to California are the most anticipated games of the season. Being able to come back home, for most of us, and play outdoors again, get a tan and see our families is a highlight of every season,” reflected senior goalkeeper Noah Hodge. “Being home for games definitely has its perks, and plane travel has an impact on recovery, but I think the pros outweigh the cons.”
Harvard (17-7, 7-1 Northeast Water Polo Conference) started the game strong against Brown (13-2, 3-4 NWPC) with two goals from sophomore center Mott Stothart and first-year utility James Rosolis-Hill.
“Our chemistry and overall cohesion makes our team different from the other teams we play against. From the seniors all the way down to the freshmen, like myself, we all really look out for each other and have each other’s backs through everything… We believe we are talented enough to play and beat any team in the country,” said Rozolis- Hill when asked about his first season of experience with the program and what makes this team so successful.
The Crimson led 2-1 early in the second quarter before Stothart scored his own third goal of the match to make it 3-1 before junior center Caleb Archer and junior forward Owen Hale pushed the score back to a two-point lead at 5-3.
“Home games are always the best. You can’t replicate the feeling of defending your home pool in front of family and friends,” Rosolis-Hill said.
Harvard scored five more goals in the third quarter before holding on to secure the 10-8 win in the fourth.
“I am quite happy with the performance of our team so far this season. I think a lot of our success this season can be attributed to how close we all are out of the pool,” noted Hodge, who recently set and continues to add to the program record for most career saves.
“Over the past five years, I have been able to see how important team chemistry is to our success as a program. As an Ivy League school and with limited recruiting spots and therefore a smaller roster, it’s that much more important that every member of the team contributes to the best of their ability.”
The Crimson carried their opening game success into their next game against MIT (6-14, 1-7 NWPC), where the home team picked up another win at Blodgett Pool, 18-10 against the Beavers.
At the start of the first quarter, Harvard got off to a strong start, taking a 4-1 lead before extending the lead even further to 11-3 before halftime, which was key as the Beavers put on a valiant effort in the second half of the game.
This past weekend, the Crimson held a half game behind first-place Princeton in the NWPC, and after Harvard’s 2021 season, where the team posted its third-highest win total in program history, expectations for the remainder of the season are high.
“We have a lot of upperclassmen, including three super-seniors, who are leading the way and setting an example for our underclassmen who have stepped into their roles,” Hodge said. “I’m very excited for the rest of the season as we head into the conference tournament and I truly believe we can bring home a ring.”
“I felt a different energy this year compared to last year and I’m really thankful that we were able to get last season under our belts. It was tough coming off of Covid, with half of our team being brand new to college water polo in fact, and it took us a while to adjust, get to know the new players and get on course. However, now with a year behind us, we have hit a stride and the team is clicking at another level.”
This weekend the Crimson will play both St. Francis College Brooklyn and Iona College on Saturday before defending Blodgett against the Princeton Tigers on Sunday.