CAMBRIDGE, Mass.- The Harvard men's water polo team topped No. 12 Princeton 9-8 and fell to No. 18 Brown 11-9. The Crimson moves to 4-1 in conference play and 12-4 on the season.
The first contest of the day began slow as both teams notched only two goals in the first quarter. Senior Nathan Ondracek gave the Crimson the go-ahead goal three minutes into the second period, but Brown's Armen Deimenjian strung two together to put the Bears on top before a counter and leading goal from sophomore Dennis Blyashov. The Crimson saw one more goal from junior Austin Sechrest before exiting the first half leading 6-5.
As the second half of play opened up the, Brown showed a strong offense with a four-goal rally, leading the Crimson 9-6. Sechrest found the net with 15 seconds left in the quarter to keep prevent a scoreless quarter. In the last quarter of regular play, Harvard struggled to catch up to the Bears despite a final push with a late goal from senior Nick Bunn. The Crimson fell to Brown 11-9.
In the rematch against Princeton, both teams opened up with a strong defense allowing just two goals on net. Ondracek gave the go-ahead and insurance goal in a back-to-back fashion with an assist from first-year goalkeeper Noah Hodge. At the end of the second, Harvard led Princeton 6-3 after a goal from Blyashov.
The second half of the game saw more offensive action, with two goals from Ondracek which created back-and-forth action in the third. Princeton edged a comeback effort after back-to-back goals from Matt Payne, but ultimately could not break through the Crimsons strong defense. Harvard left the Tigers scoreless in the last four and a half minutes of regulation for the 9-8 victory.
Head Coach Ted Minnis attributed the success to moving on from the past and getting better every day. "Our focus is always starting on the defensive end, the offense is going to come," said Minnis. "Our defense feeds our offense." Senior Nathan Ondracek noted the team came together after the loss to Brown to find the "energy that was missing" before heading into the rivalry with Princeton. "One of our sayings is 'Let Ted hit the brakes' so it is go, go, go until we hear the buzzer and that's what we brought into that second game," stated Ondracek.
- Nathan Ondracek led the attack against Princeton with four goals, while Austin Sechrest led the offensive pursuit against Brown with four goals of his own.
- Dennis Blyashov netted six goals on the day, including a hat trick against Princeton.
- The Crimson moves to 4-1 in conference play and 12-4 on the season.
The Crimson looks to local foe MIT tomorrow afternoon, Oct. 7 at 1p.m. at Blodgett Pool. Broadcast coverage will be provided by ESPN+.