No. 20 Women’s Water Polo Rallies Past Santa Clara in Overtime, 9-8

Photo courtesy of Gil Talbot
Photo courtesy of Gil Talbot

Sophomore Kristen Hong recorded two goals and an assist in the overtime victory over the Broncos (Gil Talbot).

– The No. 20 Harvard women's water polo team rallied past Santa Clara, 9-8, in the second overtime period on Saturday afternoon, finishing its West Coast road trip on a high note. Junior Sami Strutner scored the game-winner in extra time, while sophomore Kristen Hong and freshman Sofia Carrera-Justiz each recorded a pair of goals to help the Crimson to the one-goal victory.

Harvard (8-9, 0-1 CWPA) earned its third win on its seven-game road trip with the overtime victory over Santa Clara (5-14). The Crimson battled back from a 5-4 deficit after the third quarter, scoring four goals in the fourth quarter to send the game to overtime, before winning it in the second three-minute OT.

Carrera-Justiz and senior Eela Nagaraj helped put the Crimson on top, 2-1, after the first period with early scores. Freshman Mathilde Ribordy added a goal in the second frame, and some solid defense gave Harvard a 3-2 advantage at the half.

Santa Clara retook the lead in the third quarter, scoring three times while holding Harvard to a single goal to go up 5-4. Hong notched her first score of the game to keep the contest within one.

Senior Zoe Osborne tallied the opening goal for Harvard in the fourth quarter, and the Crimson totaled three more to knot the contest at 8-8 at the end of regulation. Sophomore Haley Bowe, Hong and Carrera-Justiz all found the back of the net to complete the comeback.

Neither team recorded a goal in the first overtime period, before Strutner took the feed from Carrera-Justiz and finished with 1:10 remaining to put the Crimson on top, 9-8. Harvard held off the Santa Clara attack late, and the Crimson held on for the win.

Senior Michelle Martinelli paced the offense with three assists, Carrera-Justiz had a pair of helpers and sophomore Sam Acker and Hong each notched an assist as well. Acker also stopped eight shots in goal to go along with three steals.

Harvard returns to the pool for two games at Mercyhurst next weekend, March 25-26. Harvard will play Mercyhurst at 6 p.m. Saturday, March 25 and Gannon on Sunday, March 26 at 9 a.m.