The Crimson opens the season 2- 1 on the road. (Zack Williamson)
NEW ROCHELLE, N.Y. – No. 20 Harvard women's water polo opened the season Sunday with a triple-header, winning two of three matches. The Crimson (2-1) fell to Iona (3-0), 10-8, defeated Villanova (0-2), 19-8, and ended the day with a 15-6 win over St. Francis (0-2).
Harvard opened the day with an early match up with Iona. The match was tightly contested throughout with score tied up at 5-5 at halftime. Iona's defense was strong in the second and half, allowing Harvard to only score two more goals for the rest of the match, with the Crimson eventually falling 10-8. Sophomore Michelle Martinelli led the way for the Crimson with three goals.
The second match of the of the day saw Harvard take on Villanova. The Crimson came out fast against the Wildcats, 6-2, after the first quarter. Harvard never relented as things wore on, coming away with a big 19-8 victory. Alexis Del Toro and Melissa Balding both found the back of the net three times with five other Crimson players picking up two goals apiece in the winning effort.
In the final match of the day, Harvard took on St. Francis. The Crimson was strong on both sides of the pool against the Terrier's, scoring 10 unanswered goals after falling behind 3-0 in the early going to take a 10-3 halftime lead. Harvard's offense slowed down in the second half comparatively, but the defense stood strong, securing the 15-6 victory. Balding once again paced the Crimson with four goals.
The Crimson is back in action next weekend with four matches at the Princeton Invitational. The action kicks off Saturday, Feb. 7 against Wagner at 1 p.m. and Princeton at 7:30 p.m. Harvard closes the weekend Sunday, Feb. 8 against Villanova at 8:30 a.m. and Iona at 11:30 a.m.