PROVIDENCE, RHODE ISLAND – The Brown women's water polo team (13-13, 3-2 CWPA) got out to an early lead and fought off a last quarter surge to earn a 12-10 win over Harvard (13-10, 2-1 CWPA) on Thursday evening at Blodgett Pool. With the win, head coach Felix Mercado becomes the winningest coach in program history, overtaking Todd Clapper, as he now has 106 victories in his six seasons with the Bears.
Brown 12 - Harvard 10
Pepper 5, Booher 2, Woods 2, Ruiz 1, Rosen 1, Presant 1
B: 4 – 2 – 3 – 3 - 12
H: 2 – 2 – 1 – 5 - 10
Playing the Crimson on their senior night, the Bears jumped out to a quick lead in the first quarter, led by sophomore Madison Pepper (Baytown, TX), who scored three early goals to give Brown a 4-2 advantage after the opening stanza. Harvard fought its way back however, as the two teams matched goals in the second quarter, and Brown saw its lead trimmed down to one at the start of the second half. The Bears ultimately outscored the Crimson 3-1 in the third quarter, with senior Claudia Ruiz (Sacramento, CA), sophomore Liz Rosen (San Anselmo, CA) and Pepper each finding the back of the net. Harvard rallied one last time, scoring five goals in the fourth to cut Brown's lead to two with three minutes remaining, but the Bears hung on for the 12-10 win.
In one of the team's best performances of the year, their offensive efforts were led by Pepper's five goals, while junior Kate Woods (La Jolla, CA) also had an outstanding game, netting two goals and adding five assists. On the defensive end, the Bears played just as well, as Pepper and junior Sarah Presant (Poway, CA) led the team with three steals each and Rosen and Woods each had three field blocks. Junior Sarah Shin (Fullerton, CA) was impressive in goal, making seven saves as the cornerstone of the defense.
Brown returns to the Katherine Moran Coleman Aquatics Center this weekend for the first time since early February to host the Brown Invite. The team will welcome six other schools to College Hill, including Marist, Hartwick, Arizona State, CSU Bakersfield, Michigan and Harvard, and the Bears will kick off the tournament with a 4:00pm game against Marist on Friday, April 5th.