Harrington Drives No. 19 Women's Water Polo to Sweep at LMU Invitational

Harrington Drives No. 19 Women's Water Polo to Sweep at LMU Invitational

Harrington tabbed 28 saves to go with three steals and an assist on the day (Gil Talbot).

LOS ANGELES, Calif. - Behind a 28-save day from Cleo Harrington, the No. 19 Harvard women's water polo team held on for a pair of victories at the LMU Invitational Friday afternoon at the Burns Aquatic Center. The Crimson opened with a 7-4 upset over No. 14 Loyola Marymount before holding on against Azusa Pacific, 10-8.

Harvard 7, LMU 4

Harvard (16-4) upset the 14th-ranked host in its opener, 7-4. Melissa Balding posted a game-high four goals, while Harrington led the defense, making eight stops between the pipes and holding LMU (7-14) to convert just 1-of-9 on the power play.

Balding etched the lone score of the opening period as Harrington and the defense shutout the Lions in the first frame. Balding struck again to open the second period while Michelle Martinelli and Charlotte Hendrix also found the back of the net. The Crimson defense continued to hold LMU's attack to a standstill, blanking the Lions to head into break with a 4-0 advantage.

The Lions posted a trio of goals of their own to open the second half, while the defense held Harvard scoreless, making it a one-goal game heading into the decisive period at 4-3 in favor of the Crimson. Harvard and LMU exchanged goals to open the fourth stanza before Balding closed out the contest with a pair of scores, pushing the Crimson past the Lions to earn its first win in the all-time series.

Harvard 10, Azusa Pacific 8

In the final game of the invitational, Harvard's first-half attack stayed hot as it jumped out to an 8-3 halftime lead and held on for the 10-8 win over Azusa Pacific (6-15). Harrington was outstanding in net once again, rejecting a career-high 20 shots, while Kristen Hong paced the offense with a hat trick.

Hong delivered the opening scores for Harvard, giving it a 2-1 lead after the end of the first period. The freshman completed her natural hat trick to open the second stanza before Azusa Pacific got one back. Balding, Martinelli and Yoshi Anderson provided the rest of the scoring in the period, furthering the Crimson's command to 8-3 at the half.

The Cougars responded to open the second half, registering a trio of goals before Rachel Lobato and Martinelli made it a four-goal game heading into the final frame at 10-6. Azusa Pacific notched the only goals of the period, but Harvard's defense held firm, holding on for the win to sweep its contests at the LMU Invitational.

With its fifth win on its annual California road trip, Harvard has matched its highest win total since it posted five victories last season.

The Crimson will wrap-up its nine-game West Coast swing tomorrow with a doubleheader in Santa Barbara. Harvard will open the day against Santa Clara at 1 p.m. EST before closing out against No. 13 UC Santa Barbara at 2:30 p.m. EST.