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W. water polo wears down Harvard for 8-3 win

The women's water polo team had a strong showing Wednesday night, playing tight defense and taking advantage of scoring opportunities to cruise to an 8-3 win at Harvard. After a slow first half in which Brown was able to wear down the Crimson, the Bears pulled away in a five-goal third quarter and sealed the win in the final period to improve their record to 6-2.

Bruno fell behind early when Harvard capitalized on a 6-on-5 opportunity to score the game's first goal just 1:25 into the contest. Though the Bears would not allow another goal in the remainder of the period, they struggled to find opportunities on offense until Caitlin Fahey '07 tied the game with 1:29 remaining.

In the second quarter, Brown was held scoreless until Sarah Glick '10 put in her first goal of the game, 1:11 before the half, to give the Bruno a 2-1 lead. The goal would be the Bears' final tally of the half. But despite the lack of scoring, the Bears' defense continuously hampered the Crimson, holding it scoreless in the period while also wearing it down physically.

"I feel like we started out slow," Glick said. "Harvard scoring the game's first goal had a big effect, and it was hard for us to come back from that, but we tired them out by countering them throughout the game."

In the third quarter, Brown took advantage of its opponents' fatigue, scoring five unanswered goals to blow the game wide open. With 6:44 remaining, Lauren Presant '10 drew a penalty shot, which Glick converted for her second goal of the night. After a Harvard ejection at 4:55, Head Coach Jason Gall called a timeout, and his team responded. Just 20 seconds after the stoppage, Glick scored her third goal of the game to put the Bears up 4-1. Fahey converted her second goal of the game at 3:10, and Elizabeth Balassone '07 put in two goals in the period's final three minutes to give the Bears a 7-1 lead.

"We pretty much wore Harvard down," Gall said. "In the first two quarters, we pressured Harvard, and then they ran out of gas and started to make careless turnovers. As the game went on, we were in better shape, which allowed us to get many counterattack goals."

Though Harvard would cut Bruno's lead to 7-3 with two goals in the final period, it was unable to mount a sufficient comeback. With 2:07 remaining, Ally Wyatt '08 scored Brown's final goal of the game, making the final score 8-3.

The Bears' defense shone on Wednesday night, holding Harvard scoreless for 25 minutes between its first and second goals. Goalie Stephanie Laing '10 anchored the effort in recording 11 saves.

"Wyatt and Fahey did a great job defending in the two-meter zone," Gall said. "And Laing has been solid in goal all year long."

"Our defense leads into our offense," Glick said. "When we trust in each other to make a great steal and trust our goalie to make saves, it frees us up to turn around and go on offense, and it opens up scoring opportunities."

The Bears will face a much more difficult test this weekend, when they travel to Ann Arbor, Mich., for the Wolverine Invitational, where they will be matched up against teams including No. 11 Loyola Marymount University and No. 17 University of Michigan, as well as a tough University of Indiana team.

"We're really excited to play Michigan and Indiana," Balassone said. "We all feel like we can beat them. We don't know exactly what to expect, but those will be close games."

Against these highly ranked teams, fatigue may be a factor for the Bears, and Gall may be forced to call on his developing bench.

"Against Harvard, all 14 players played at least five minutes, not only because we were ahead, but because they've been improving and can hold their own against that caliber of team," Gall said.

This season, Brown's only two losses have come against ranked opponents: Princeton and Hartwick College. Though the Bears appear to be hitting their stride, the Wolverine Tournament will be a challenge and a chance for Gall's team to prove that it can compete with the nation's elite.


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