14 saves from Dukes was not enough to upset the Tigers. (Zack Williamson)
STOCKTON, Calif. – Harvard women's water polo took on No. 15 Pacific Tuesday night, in the fourth game of the Crimson's eight-game California road trip. Harvard (13-7) went toe-to-toe with the ranked Tigers (9-9), falling late, 11-8.
The Crimson came out firing, taking a quick 2-0 lead over Pacific after the first four minutes. Senior goalie Ariel Dukes and the Harvard defense was strong in the first quarter, keeping the potent Tiger offense off the board till the fifth minute of the first. With the score 2-1 in favor of the Crimson, Pacific was able to equalize with 19 seconds left.
Defense was the focus of the second quarter with only three total goals scored. The Tigers took their first lead of the game a minute in to the period and pushed their advantage to 4-2 a few minutes later. Rachel Lobato netted the Crimson's only goal of the quarter cutting the Pacific advantage to 4-3 heading in to halftime.
The defensive struggle of the first half turned into a shootout when the teams returned to the pool. Harvard and Pacific traded goals throughout the third quarter, with the Crimson tying the game up at 6-6 after Victoria Frager found the back of the net with a minute left. For the second time in the game, Pacific was able to score with only seconds left, going in to the final frame up, 7-6.
Harvard's defense struggled early in the fourth, falling behind 10-7, including two-unanswered goals. The Crimson responded by going on a 2-0 run of its own with Charlotte Hendrix and Frager cutting the Pacific lead to 10-8. Down only two, the Harvard offense could not break through the Tiger defense, eventually falling, 11-8.
The Crimson is back in action, Wednesday, March 18 at 9:30 p.m. EST to take on Cal St. East Bay.