CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – The No. 11 Harvard men's water polo team defeated both Cal Lutheran and McKendree, by scores of 16-7 and 20-8 respectively, to sweep its weekend at the Bruno Classic. With the two victories, the Crimson is undefeated to start the season.
The returning leading scorer from last year, junior Dennis Blyashov helped the Crimson get out to an early lead by scoring his first goal of the season only 22 seconds into the match against Cal Lutheran. That play was followed up by an outlet pass from sophomore goaltender Noah Hodge to senior Bennie Seybold to put Harvard up 2-0. The Crimson would go on a 4-0 run to shutout the Kingsmen for the first six minutes of play.
In the second period of play, Blyashov scored a highlight reel goal, spinning around to score with his back to the net. First-years Kaleb Archer and Gabe Putnam scored their first career goals and Alexandru Bucur scored his first in the third period. Both Hodge and first-year Nathan Wu stayed strong in net, making a combined total of 10 saves to hold the Kingsmen to only seven points.
The Crimson got off to a slow start in Game two against McKendree with the first goal by junior Jackson Enright coming two and a half minutes into the first period. Harvard would then go on a 6-0 run to lead the Bearcats 7-1. In the second period, Bucur intercepted a McKendree pass which led to a scoring opportunity for Archer to put the Crimson up 9-2 at the other end of the pool. Continuing his stellar play, Blyashov completed a behind-the-back pass to sophomore Alex Tsotadze and a no-look pass to senior captain Charlie Owens. Archer also had his own highlight reel play, when he stepped out from a defender to score, giving the Crimson a 15-4 lead. Hodge, junior Oliver Oz, and Wu backstopped the Crimson to hold McKendree to only eight goals.
Harvard Weekend Highlights
- Both Blyashov and Tsotadze lead Harvard with eight goals this season.
- First-years Archer, Bucur, and Putnam scored their first career goals in their first games in a Crimson cap.
- The Crimson remains undefeated in both series against Cal Lutheran and McKendree.
Harvard will travel to Princeton, N.J. for the Princeton Invite Sept. 14-15. There, the Crimson will face Fordham, Navy, and No. 9 UC San Diego.