No. 20 Women’s Water Polo Outlasts Brown, 7-6, In A Defensive Struggle

Two goals from Grabb proved to be the difference against the Bears. (Wan Grabb)

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. –  No. 20 Harvard women's water polo hosted Brown Thursday night in the final home match of the season. In a low scoring affair, Harvard was able to come out on top, 7-6, breaking a five-match losing streak against the Bears.

Yoshi Andersen opened the scoring three minutes into the first quarter on the first shoot of the game. Zoe Osborne followed Andersen just seconds later, converting on a fast break one-on-one opportunity to give Harvard an early 2-0 lead. The Crimson scoring subsided after the initial outburst with Brown getting two back, including a buzzer-beater to tying the game at 2-2.

Brown took its first lead of the night a minute into the second period, taking advantage of a turnover in the middle of the pool. At the midway point of the second quarter, a Brown ejection opened up space in front of goal for Alexis Del Toro, who tied the game at 3-3 with a shoot from distance. With the half fast approaching, the Crimson turned up the offensive pressure but found the woodwork twice in the final minute. With just second left on the clock a great pool-length pass from Victoria Frager set up Melissa Balding, who snapped the back of the net as time expired to send the Crimson into halftime up, 4-3.

The third quarter was a defensive struggle with both teams forcing shot clock violations and the keepers coming up with clutch saves throughout. Senior Kalina Grabb broke the stalemate six minutes in, scoring her 19th goal of the season after grabbing a loose ball in front of the Brown net, pushing the Crimson lead to 5-3.

After failing to convert on an early penalty shot, Michelle Martinelli netted a transition goal two minutes into the final frame. Brown quickly responded scoring two unanswered goals to cut Harvard lead to 6-5. A great combination play between Frager and Grabb put the Crimson ahead 7-5 with four minutes left in the game. The Bears were able to cut the Crimson lead down to one, but it would not be enough as the Crimson took the game 7-6.

The Crimson closes out the season Saturday, April 18, with a doubleheader in Providence, Rhode Island. Harvard opens the day with a match up against No. 13 Princeton at 11:30 a.m. and plays its final regular season game of 2015 against George Washington at 3:30 p.m.