In the world of Crimson sports, the most dominant teams aren’t always the ones making headlines. Rather, the teams that slip under the radar are often the most determined competitors in the Ivy League — and this upcoming season the women’s volleyball and field hockey teams and the men’s water polo team will be the Crimson contenders to watch.
Last season, these squads beat some of the top Ivy League schools and broke decade-old records. The women’s field hockey team brought home a win against Yale for the first time since 2008, while the women’s volleyball team not only finished second at season’s end but also broke Yale’s 23-match Ivy winning streak. And the men’s water polo team exceeded all expectations by not only ranking in the top 20 for the first time in eight years, but breaking St. Francis’ 10-year-plus streak at home and securing Harvard’s first regular season Northern Division Championship since 2002.
Off-season, the athletes remained active. This season’s men’s water polo players tested international waters on a 10-day training trip to Italy, where they competed against skilled Italian teams.
“This team has worked extremely hard,” said Ted Minnis, head coach of men’s water polo, who commended his men for their perseverance and effort off-season. “We’re no longer a young team. Our players have played in big games and gained experience that will help us attain our team and individual goals.”
The teams are returning hungry for new victories.
“We will build a championship team,” said women’s volleyball head coach Jennifer Weiss, confident in her senior athletes’ leadership and the “healthy challenge” of the incoming freshmen.
While winning is always a goal, Tjerk van Herwaarden, head field hockey coach, wants his team to play an “attractive, fun-to-watch style with lots of exciting moments,” making women’s field hockey a more dynamic spectator sport.
While basketball and football snare most of the spotlight, these teams are ready to take off. And with their combination of continued victories, fierce competition, and lively action, keeping your eyes off them will be a challenge.
For a full schedule of Harvard athletic events throughout the year, visit its website.