CAMBRIDGE, Mass.- The highest-ranked east coast team, No. 7 Harvard men's water polo topped Iona College 16-8 followed by an intense 15-14 win over St. Francis College on the opening day of conference play.
During the first match against Iona, Harvard led at the end of the first quarter 6-3 with goals from Charlie Owens, Dennis Blyashov, Austin Sechrest and Michael Sonsini. The second quarter saw a strong defense from both sides, with only one goal scored by Iona's Quinn Lloyd to cut the gap 6-4.
Sechrest opened the second half of play with back-to-back goals with an assist from a Nathan Ondracek steal. The strong Crimson defense held the Gaels to a single goal in the third and three more in the fourth while tacking on eight more goals of its own to earn the 16-8 win.
The night game at St. Francis opened up with a goal from first-year Alex Tstodaze from Nick Bunn, followed by a counter goal from the Terriers' Djorde Stanic. The back-and-forth action continued throughout the half until a small Crimson rally. Within seconds of his entry in the second quarter, Grant Harvey shot and scored to put the Crimson up by one. Sechrest capitalized on the 5m shot opportunity, followed by a goal from Jackson Enright to create the first multi-goal gap of the match, closing out the half 7-4.
Opening up the tail end of the match, St. Francis saw back-to-back goals from Botond Kadar and William Lapkin to bring the Terriers within one, 7-6. Charlie Owens fired a momentum killing shot from Tsotadze breaking the tie, 9-8. Although forced to finish the game out five-on-five, both teams held a strong defense throughout the fourth quarter. Nathan Ondracek broke the four-minute scoreless silence adding to the 14-11 Crimson lead. Senior Grant Harvey notched the final Harvard goal, leading to the 15-14 Harvard win.
- Austin Sechrest led the team, totaling nine goals on the day with six against Iona.
- Grant Harvey recorded two goals against St. Franicis. In addition to the game-winner Harvey fired another momentum building shot less thant 15 seconds after his entry into the pool.
- Noah Hodge tallied 17 saves on the day.
The Crimson stays on the road to face Ivy foe Princeton Sunday, Sept. 30 at 12 p.m.