Junior co-captain Luka Babic (pictured) had a goal and four steals in Saturday's game against MIT (photo courtesy Gil Talbot).
CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – Saturday it was the Crimson's turn to fend off a late comeback, as the Harvard men's water polo team defeated cross-town rival MIT, 10-8, in the teams' second meeting this season at Blodgett Pool.
After falling behind 1-0 in the first period, Harvard (4-8, 0-2 Collegiate Water Polo Association) would score two unanswered goals to take a 2-1 lead and never relinquish it. Saturday's game was the 90th meeting between the two teams, with Harvard holding a commanding 73-17 lead in the all-time series. MIT falls to an even 5-5 overall in 2010 with a 2-1 record in CWPA games.
"I'm really happy with the effort on the defensive end today," said Harvard head coach Ted Minnis.
Leading that effort on defense was senior Alex Thompson and co-captain junior Luka Babic, who had four steals each. Junior goalkeeper Alexandre Popp had seven saves, two assists and a takeaway in doing his part on defense.
Harvard led, 10-6, with about 2 minutes, 30 seconds, left in the game when the Engineers began their comeback. It was just two weeks ago in the same pool where MIT took a 5-0 first half lead before holding off a valiant Crimson comeback effort to win, 7-6. Saturday, the Engineers managed to score two unanswered goals in the final frame before time finally ran out, giving Harvard the 10-8 victory.
Since 2003, 16 of the last 18 games between Cambridge rivals MIT and Harvard have been decided by three goals or fewer. The Crimson is 6-10 in those 16 games, but hold a 5-3 edge in the last eight such decisions dating back to 2006.
Up next, the Crimson heads out west for five games beginning Friday. Harvard will play a total of four games at the Claremont Convergence Tournament in Claremont, Calif. Friday and Saturday, taking on the likes of Air Force, Pomona-Pitzer, Claremont-Mudd-Scripps and Occidental. The Crimson heads to Santa Barbara, Calif., Oct. 10 to take on the 6th-ranked Gauchos.