CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – Senior Mike Katzer netted a hat trick and classmate Kevin DiSilvestro added two scores to lead the Harvard men's water polo team to a 13-10 victory over Iona to claim seventh-place at the Collegiate Water Polo Association (CWPA) Eastern Championship at Blodgett Pool Sunday. The Crimson exploded for six goals in the third period, after a defense-dominated first half, to improve to 10-20 overall in 2011.
Harvard put together one of its best runs of the year, scoring on four straight positions, to end the third period. The highlight possession came with 1:57 left in the period when Harvard controlled the ball for a lengthy period of time and fired four shots off of a series of rebounds and deflections before Luka Babic snuck a shot into the cage past a tiring Iona defense.
DiSilvestro capped the third period with a goal from point-blank range after a nifty pump-fake move to get around the Iona goalie to give Harvard a 10-6 lead moving to the final quarter.
The Gaels posted a fight to start the fourth, scoring the first three goals of the frame to get within one, but Harvard answered with three goals, including Katzer's third with 4:11 left in the match, to secure the victory.
Harvard used a pressure defense that forced Iona to take inopportune shots and fight against the shot-clock during multiple positions in the first half. The Crimson forced five turnovers and Alexandre Popp made seven saves in the first 16 minutes.
Iona got on the board first when a Harvard penalty allowed a long lead pass and the Gaels snuck a shot into the cage from the right side of the pool with 3:18 left in the first. It did not take long for the Crimson to answer, as John Holland-McCowan was fouled and Max Murphy converted a penalty with 2:15 on the clock.
The Crimson dominated the second quarter, posting a 3-1 advantage in the frame. A pair of outlet passes let Kevin DiSilvestro and Evan Ramsey get shots past the Iona goalie and Holland-McCowan added a goal with 18 seconds remaining to give Harvard a 4-2 lead going into halftime.
The Gaels scored on its first two positions of the second half to quickly even the score. A back-and-forth battle ensued as the Crimson received goals from Murphy off of a cross pass from William Roller at 6:47 and Katzer at the 4:56 mark, but each goal was answered to keep the score tied at six before Harvard made its deciding charge to end the third.
Harvard finished in seventh-place at its first CWPA Eastern Championship since 2007 with the win. The Crimson rounded out 2011 with a 10-20 overall record.