The women’s water polo team (24-13, 7-5 Collegiate Water Polo Association), which currently ranks No. 22 nationally, defeated Connecticut College (2-12) before falling to Harvard (21-6, 9-3 CWPA) on Saturday in the team’s final tune-up before the Collegiate Water Polo Championships April 22.
Brown won its last 17 games against Connecticut College, an NCAA Division III opponent. The Bears made quick work of the Camels, utilizing only seven players in the 11-4 rout.
Bruno accomplished a rare feat in that its 11 goals were distributed across all seven players, including Maya Fleischer ’24 who started the game as goalkeeper. Nina Hastings ’22, Malia Honda ’25, Moe O’Malley ’22 and Brenna Pangelinan ’25 each scored twice for Bruno.
The second match of the day was an intense physical rematch of the thrilling 7-6 Brown victory over Harvard in Cambridge March 5. This time, however, the Crimson dominated on the defensive end and controlled the game in a 10-6 victory.
“I think Harvard came out a lot harder in the first half so we had to fight back the rest of the game,” said Katie Klein ’22. “We also were missing some people which was unfortunate.”
Harvard set the tone early, scoring the first two goals of the game and holding Brown scoreless for over seven minutes to begin the game. Zoe King ’23 put the Bears on the board with just 25 seconds left in the first quarter. But Bruno would not escape Harvard’s last possession of the quarter unscathed; Harvard’s Brooke Hourigan scored with one second left on the clock to extend the Crimson’s lead 3-1.
A difficult second quarter was too much for Brown to surmount. Harvard’s defense stymied the Bears and allowed the Crimson to score three unanswered goals in the quarter, creating a sizable 6-1 lead at halftime.
"We just couldn't break their press in the second quarter and the game got away from us,” Head Coach Felix Mercado said in a statement to Brown Athletics.
Despite an improved performance in the second half, Harvard’s lead proved to be too much for Bruno to overcome. Brown’s offense came alive in the third quarter with goals from Sophie Golub ’24 and Lily Weiser ’23.
Brown finished the game strong with an impressive fourth quarter, mirroring its strong late-game effort against Princeton in a close April 10 loss. Claire Pisani ’23, Siena Berry ’25 and Golub all scored, while the Bears held Harvard to only one goal over the final period.
"This was a tough loss but we have to be ready to regroup and get ready for Bucknell," Mercado said in the recap.
Brown will head south to Lewisburg, PA for the CWPA Championships Friday. The Bears will be the No. 4 seed in the tournament and will face No. 5 seeded Bucknell University for the right to play No. 1 University of Michigan.
“I would say that our focus going into the weekend would be consistency on all fronts,” goalkeeper Marley Presiado ’22 said. “We’ve had a few weeks where we’ve been firing on offense but not on defense and vice versa, so we are definitely going into this weekend looking to be firing on all cylinders.”
The Bears have played well against Bucknell this year, beating the Bison on the road in February and at home on April 10 by a combined seven goals.