Six different members of the Crimson had multi-goal efforts on the day (Gil Talbot).
CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – Freshman Kristen Hong and the No. 16 women's water polo team cruised to a pair of victories on the final day of the Harvard Invitational Sunday at Blodgett Pool. The Crimson earned a 16-5 win in its opener against Siena before downing Fresno Pacific, 18-7, in the finale.
Hong led all scorers with nine goals on the day, including tying a season-high with five tallies against Fresno Pacific. The freshman totaled 15 goals on the weekend, netting multiple tallies in all four games.
"Kristen's doing some amazing things out there," said The Friends of Water Polo Head Coach Ted Minnis. "I think she's worked very hard since she got here, she keeps getting better every day and she listens and she's very easy to coach. It's been fun to watch her so far. "
Harvard 16, Siena 5
Harvard cruised past Siena, 16-5, in its opening game as Hong and Michelle Martinelli led the charge with four goals apiece, while Melissa Balding, Charlotte Hendrix and Rachel Lobato also tallied multi-goal efforts. Sam Acker was solid between the pipes, making seven stops.
Martinelli wasted no time in getting on the board as she scored 11 seconds in and the rout was on from there. Hong notched back-to-back scorchers to close out the frame as the Crimson jumped out to a 5-0 lead. The Crimson duplicated its five-goal effort in the second frame as Martinelli notched another pair. The Saints were able to get on the board in the waning seconds of the half, but the damage was done as the Crimson held firm to a 10-1 lead.
Siena got the upper hand in the third period, outscoring the Crimson 3-1 to cut Harvard's lead to 12-4 until the Crimson offense returned to form in the final period, registering another five-goal period, capped by a fadeaway from deep by Lobato as Harvard sealed the 16-5 triumph.
Harvard 18, Fresno Pacific 7
Hong paved the way once again for the Crimson with five scores in the closing game of the invitational, while Yoshi Andersen and Sami Strutner tallied four-goal efforts. Cleo Harrington made the first 12 stops in net before Sam Acker closed the game out.
The Crimson offense fired on all cylinders to open the game as it scored six-straight goals, led by Hong with a trio as Harvard topped the Sunbirds 6-1 after the opening period. Hong and the offense continued to roll in the second, taking advantage of transition play to hold the upper hand at half, 11-4.
"Our press gets everything going and we pressed very well," said Minnis. "That leads into our transition and gets us playing. We're a fast team and we like to play fast and I thought we did a really good job getting out in transition."
Andersen kept the offense rolling to start the second stanza, netting back-to-back scores on the fast break, while Strutner also skipped in a fastbreak goal to put the Crimson ahead, 14-5. The Crimson put up another four goals in the final frame to complete the Sunday sweep, taking the finale 18-7.
Harvard returns to the pool this weekend as it kicks off its nine-game California road trip. The Crimson will open up against San Diego State March 12 as part of the SDSU Aztec Invite.