Harvard Women's Water Polo Splits Conference Games

The No. 20 Harvard women’s water polo team played three conference games, splitting the weekend 2-1. On Saturday, the Crimson (12-10, 2-2 CWPA) dominated both if its games, defeating Bucknell, 9-5, and George Washington, 15-8. On Sunday, Harvard dropped its second conference game to Michigan, 7-15.

“Overall it was a pretty good weekend. We won the games that we needed to to keep moving up in the seeding for Easterns,” sophomore Kristen Hong said. “Unfortunately, we lost to Michigan, but after playing them this weekend, we know that they are a very beatable team for us.”

NO. 20 HARVARD 9, BUCKNELL 5

Though Harvard trailed Bucknell (13-14, 2-4 CWPA) 2-1 after the first quarter, a second quarter offensive surge helped the team find its footing to win the game. Outscoring Bucknell 4-0 in the second frame, the Crimson entered the second half with a three point lead.

In the third quarter, Hong scored a pair of goals to help Harvard secure a five point lead heading into the final period. In the final frame, senior Zoe Osborne found the back of the net to defeat Bucknell 9-5. Along with her two goals, Osborne recorded a career high five assists.

Also a strong defensive game, Osborne and freshman Sofia Carrera-Justiz each had two steals, and junior Cleo Harrington had eight stops and two steals in the net.

NO. 20 HARVARD 15, GEORGE WASHINGTON 8

Continuing the momentum from the morning, Harvard dominated against George Washington (13-11, 1-3 CWPA) from the opening minute. The Crimson immediately took control of the game with first quarter goals by Carrera-Justiz, Osborne and senior Eela Nagaraj.

“It’s been this way all year, but especially this weekend, it’s such a team effort,” coach Ted Minnis said. “We talked a lot all year about playing our best water polo at the end of the year, and I think we’re at the right spot to be ready.”

NO. 7 MICHIGAN 15, NO. 20 HARVARD 7

Coming of a five-game win streak and its two Saturday victories, the Harvard women's water polo failed to upset No. 7 Michigan on Sunday, losing 15-7 in its fourth conference game of the year.

The Crimson put up a strong defensive fight, trailing 2-1 after the first quarter, however, Michigan (25-8, 8-0 CWPA) outscored Harvard 4-1 in the second quarter to take a 6-2 lead at halftime.

The Harvard offense came out strong in the beginning of the second half, scoring four goals; however, its efforts were matched by the aggressive Michigan offense. The Crimson failed to make a final stand and Michigan pulled away in the last minutes.

Adding to her four goals from Saturday, Carrera-Justiz led the Harvard attack with two goals. Senior Michelle Martinelli, junior Sami Strutner, Hong and freshen Julie Harrison and Mathilde Ribordy each tallied one as well.

“We’ve really grown offensively and I know we didn’t beat Michigan, but I thought we did some really good things in the Michigan game,” Minnis said. “I thought our freshman played really well. I look at Julie Harrison coming off the bench, Mathilde Ribordy, I thought they had really good weekends. Sofia had a great weekend. They’re growing in a way, I want to stop calling them freshmen, because they’re playing like they’re sophomores or juniors.”

Harvard returns to action on Wednesday, April 12 against Brown at 7:30 p.m.

—Staff writer Rena Simkowitz can be reached at rena.simkowitz@thecrimson.com

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