CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – A furious fourth-quarter rally came up just short, as the MIT water polo team could not convert on its final possession, ultimately losing to Brown University, 5-4, in Collegiate Water Polo Association (CWPA) action on Friday night. After falling behind, 4-2, late in the third, Tech scored a pair of goals in the final period and had the ball with 26 seconds remaining but John Preis was denied and the Bears (11-4, 3-1 CWPA) held on for the win. The loss is the first in the CWPA Northern Division for the Engineers, who fall to 5-4 overall and 2-1 in the division.
Brown jumped out to an early 3-0 in the first quarter. The Bears had a chance to extend the lead early in the second, but Columbus Leonard made a fantastic save on a breakaway chance to keep the deficit to just three. Leonard would also make a key stop on a penalty shot late in the game, as part of his seven save effort on the night. Andrew Dorne and Craig Cheney would score in the quarter to get the Cardinal and Gray within one at halftime. Scott Stephens had a great chance to tie things up at the end of the half but his backhanded shot sailed just wide of the net.
Both defenses stood tall for most of the third quarter until the Bears broke through with a marker with just 11 seconds remaining in the frame to take a 4-2 lead.
Stephens would score midway through the final period to bring Tech back within two at 5-3 and Cheney scored his team-leading 22nd tally with 55 seconds to go, to close the gap to just one goal. After a late stop, the Engineers regained possession with a chance to tie the score. However, Preis' shot from the left side of the goal was stopped by Bears goalie Max Lubin to preserve the victory.
In addition to his two scores, Cheney had six steals and an assist. Stephens added three steals and an assist as well.
MIT will be back in action tomorrow afternoon, traveling up Massachusetts Ave. to take on cross-town rival Harvard University. The game against the Crimson begins at 1:00 p.m. on Saturday.