Women’s Water Polo Holds Annual Awards Banquet

Photo Courtesy of Harvard Athletic Communications
Photo Courtesy of Harvard Athletic Communications

BOSTON – The Harvard women's water polo team concluded its 2016 season with its annual awards banquet Monday night at the Harvard Club of Boston.

Cleo Harrington, Michelle Martinelli, Kristen Hong and Rachel Lobato were all recognized for their achievements in the pool this season.

Harrington earned the team's Most Valuable Player honors after a record-breaking season in net. The sophomore broke the single-season saves record with 308 stops to go with 25 assists and 18 steals to earn a spot on the CWPA Division I/II all-conference and all-tournament first teams.  The Costa Mesa, California native posted 15 double-digit save efforts on the season, including a career-best 21-save performance against Connecticut College April 30 at the CWPA Championship. Harrington set the record for earning the most Defensive Player of the Week honors in a single season with four.

Martinelli was awarded the Coaches Award after racking up a stat line of 44 goals, 28 assists and 41 steals. The junior tabbed 11 multi-goal efforts on the season and set career single-game highs in goals, assists and steals. A San Diego, California native, Martinelli earned CWPA Player of the Week honors March 23 after delivering the game-winning goal against then-No. 13 UC Santa Barbara to guide Harvard to best its highest-ranked opponent ever.

Hong took home Rookie of the Year honors after posting one of the most memorable seasons in program history. The freshman matched the single-season goal record with 80 scores and tallied 21 multi-goal efforts, while leading the Crimson in scoring in 15 of its 28 games. As well as leading the team in scoring, Hong also posted a team-best 45 steals and ranked third with 35 assists. Hailing from Orinda, California, Hong set the record for being named CWPA Division I/II Rookie of the Week honors in a single season with five weekly recognitions.

A force at attacker before transitioning to a primary 2-meter player her junior year, Lobato earned the team's Most Improved Player award after tallying 16 goals, 10 assists and 20 steals in her final campaign. The senior was instrumental in shutting down opponents offenses and leading Harvard to a program-best 24 wins on the season.

Harvard enjoyed one of its most successful seasons yet, finishing the year at 24-10, recording the first back-to-back 20-win seasons for the first time in program history. The Crimson checked in at No. 13 in the CWPA rankings from March 23 – April 6 for its highest ranking ever, while also marking a program first with nine wins against top-25 teams this season.