The Crimson defense downs the Otters in a grueling game. (Photo: Wan Grabb)
SEASIDE, Calif. – Harvard women's water polo faced off with Cal St. Monterey Bay (5-13) Saturday afternoon, grinding out a hard fought, 7-4, victory. Ariel Dukes lead the way on defense, making six saves and registering a team-high three steals.
Harvard (15-8) set the defensive tone in the first quarter, keeping the Otters off the board. Melissa Balding opened the scoring for the Crimson, taking advantage of a 6-on-5 opportunity. Charlotte Hendrix capped off the quarter with her first goal of the game, after assisting on the Balding's goal, give Harvard a 2-0 lead.
The Crimson continued to smother Cal St. Monterey Bay, allowing only one ball find the back of the net in the second quarter. The Otters were also strong on defense limiting the Crimson to only one goal as well. Hendrix was able to break through with 51 seconds left sending the Crimson into half time up 3-1.
Cal St. Monterey Bay battled its way back into the match, taking the third quarter 2-1. Michelle Martinelli scored Harvard's only goal of the period, three minutes in. The Otters then went on a 2-0 run to close out the quarter cutting the Crimson lead to 4-3.
Harvard wrestled back control of the match on the final frame with a game-best three goals. Less than two minutes in to the fourth period, the Crimson's Yoshi Andersen and Zoe Osborne got on the board pushing Harvard's advantage to 6-3. The Otters would add one more goal to their tally, but with 35 seconds left in the game, Martinelli netted her second goal of the game, securing the Crimson's 7-4 victory.
Harvard closes out its California road trip tomorrow, Sunday, March 22 at 4 p.m. EST against No. 19 Santa Clara.