No. 16 Women's Water Polo Splits Opening Day of Harvard Invitational

Harvard honored its seniors before its game against Princeton (Athletic Communications).

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – The No. 16 Harvard women's water polo team split its opening games of the Harvard Invitational Saturday at Blodgett Pool. Harvard cruised past Mercyhurst, 17-4, in the opener before dropping a 12-8 decision to No. 20 Princeton.

Harvard 17,Mercyhurst 4

Harvard (9-2) cruised past Mercyhurst (4-4) in the opener as 10 different members of the Crimson found the back of the net, led by Michelle Martinelli with four goals.

Harvard's offense fired on all cylinders to open the game, scoring on seven of its first 10 possessions. Charlotte Hendrix and Martinelli lead the way as each netted a score. Sami Strutner, Rachel Lobato and Kristen Hong also found the back of the net, while the Harvard defense was solid, holding the Lakers scoreless as the Crimson rushed out to a 7-0 advantage.

The offense continued to overpower Mercyhurst in the second frame as Colby Stapleton scorched a trio of goals, while Yoshi Anderson and Hong also found the back of the net to take a commanding 12-1 lead at the half.

The Crimson's attack stayed strong as Marinelli heated up, netting another pair of goals, while Melissa Balding scorched the back of the net to further its advantage to 15-2 after three complete. Nikki Daurio and Hollis Jomo each added a goal in the final period as Harvard cruised to a 17-4 win in the opener.

Princeton 12, Harvard 8

In front of an electric crowd at Blodgett Pool, Harvard could not snap a 21-game losing streak Princeton (8-1), falling 12-8 on senior night.

Hong fired a pair of skip shots past the Princeton keeper to give the Crimson an early 2-0 advantage. The Tigers delivered back-to-back goals before Strutner retook the lead as the score held in favor of the Crimson, 3-2, after the opening period.

The second period featured a back-and-fourth battle as both teams had an answer for every score. Hendrix notched a pair, while Anderson also got on the board, but Princeton had the final two scores of the frame to take a 7-5 advantage at the half.

Hong scorched a rocket from deep to open the second half, but the Tigers answered right away to regain its two-goal advantage. Balding snuck a shot in from 2-meters at the end of the period as Princeton held the upper hand at 10-7 at the end of the third. Hong tallied her fourth goal of the game on a penalty shot in the fourth, but Princeton continued to pull away as it held on for a 12-8 win.

Harvard returns to Blodgett Pool tomorrow to close out the Harvard Invitational. The Crimson will commence the day with a 9:15 a.m. contest against Siena before closing out the invitational against Fresno Pacific at 3:30 p.m.