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Water Polo Falls 9-5 to Harvard On Six Straight Crimson Goals

By Caroline Huang

The MIT men’s water polo team lost a tough match to rival Harvard by a score of 9-5 on Thursday, Oct. 5. The defeat dropped the Engineers to 2-3 in Collegiate Water Polo Association Northern Division competition.

Despite scoring on its first possession of the night and later taking a 2-1 lead in the first quarter, MIT (8-13) allowed six consecutive goals spanning the first three quarters to trail 7-2.

After the lead opened up to five goals, Harvard (7-6-1) emptied its bench to give its starters a rest. Against the reserves, Mike S. Bronstein ’09 led a strong surge by the Engineers that brought the score from 7-2 to 7-4 in less than 60 seconds. Bronstein scored twice, once off a tough shot to the left corner and once on a rebound from a penalty throw.

At that point, Harvard wanted no part of an MIT comeback, la last year’s three meetings that all resulted in deficit-erasing, nail-biting, one-goal MIT victories. Harvard coach Erik Farrar sent his starters back into the pool at once.

Near the end of the fourth quarter, Harvard increased its lead to 9-4 when an underwater skirmish distracted the Engineers and the officials did not call a foul.

Although the Engineers’ offense was noticeably quiet under relentless Crimson pressure and strong reaction saves by Harvard goalkeeper Jay Connelly, the MIT crowd kept up its enthusiasm by making plenty of noise. Two MIT fans banged wooden spoons against metal pots and pans whenever Tech made a nice play, and other students punctuated the cheering with cries of “Go Tech!”

Though disappointed by the Harvard lead, the Tech faithful celebrated when a Morgan S. Laidlaw ’08 shot reminiscent of a soft hook in basketball made the score 9-5 in the fourth quarter.

One bright spot for MIT was goalkeeper Nicholas A. Souza ’10, who made 12 saves, including a penalty throw. In addition, the MIT offense had plenty of looks at the goal, but several shots missed by inches or were barely deflected by Connelly.

MIT will compete in the Division III Eastern Championship this Saturday and Sunday, Oct. 21 & 22, in Erie, Pa.