SANTA CLARA, Calif. – In the first of five consecutive games against ranked opponents, the Harvard men's water polo team fell to No. 18 Cal Baptist, 12-10 in overtime, at the Rodeo in Santa Clara, Calif., Friday night.
The Crimson and Cal Baptist played a competitive game, but the Lancers held an advantage throughout most of the contest.
Senior co-captain Kevin DiSilvestro got the scoring started for Harvard with two goals in the first quarter but Cal Baptist opened with three goals to gain a slim margin. The Lancers scored twice in the second and were able to add to the lead with defensive play that slowed the Crimson to one goal in the frame. Evan Zepfel came up with the lone second period goal for Harvard and Cal Baptist entered halftime with a 5-3 lead.
The Harvard offense awoke in the third period for four goals, including two from Max Eliot, but once again the Lancers kept pace to maintain a two goal difference.
It seemed Cal Baptist had the game in control when a goal early in the fourth put them up 10-7 but two scores by William Roller midway through the final period put the Crimson back in contention. Harvard's comeback came to a climax when DiSilvestro's third goal of the contest tied the game at 10 with fewer than three minutes to play. The goal ultimately forced overtime as neither team could tally a goal in the waning minutes.
The Crimson comeback bid was spoiled when Cal Baptist found the back of the net twice in the extra time to secure victory. Evan Vardayou provided both overtime goals for the Lancers and finished with four scores in the game.
The Crimson moved to 1-1 in overtime games this season and 1-2 during head coach Ted Minnis' two-year career at Harvard. Max Eliot netted a sudden-death game-winner to defeat George Washington, 13-12, in Harvard's only other overtime game this season.
The schedule does not get any easier tomorrow as the Crimson will face No. 12 UC Davis at 4 p.m. EST before seeing No. 3 Stanford at 8:00 p.m. EST. The Rodeo features nine teams, including six that are ranked in the Collegiate Water Polo Association top 20, playing a total of 18 games over the course of three days. Click here for tournament central.