No. 20 Women’s Water Polo Rallies to Win Over No. 16 Indiana, 12-11

No. 20 Women’s Water Polo Rallies to Win Over No. 16 Indiana, 12-11

Junior Kristen Hong led the Crimson with four goals, including the game-winner, against No. 16 Indiana (Paul Rutherford).

– The No. 20 Harvard women's water polo team advanced to the semifinals of the CWPA Championships with a comeback win over No. 16 Indiana, 12-11, Friday evening. The Crimson scored six-straight goals after an early four-goal deficit, taking control in the second half as Harvard held on for the one-goal victory.

The fifth-seeded Crimson (15-12, 4-4 CWPA) fell behind early against the fourth-seeded Hoosiers (18-10, 5-3 CWPA), trailing by four after the first period of action. The Crimson then rattled off six-straight goals, including three in less than 90 seconds to begin the second half, to completely change the tide of the game. Harvard held off the Hoosiers' final shot attempt as time expired to advance to the semifinals of the CWPA Championships. 

Indiana struck first in the opening minute to take a quick 1-0 lead. Senior Zoe Osborne answered with a goal of her own off the feed from senior Michelle Martinelli at the 5:43 mark of the quarter to even the contest up at 1-1. The Hoosiers, however, scored on their next possession and went on to extend their advantage to four (5-1) by the end of the opening frame.

Harvard regrouped and had a solid second quarter, holding Indiana scoreless when narrowing the deficit to three (5-2) on a snipe from freshman Mathilde Ribordy with 6:53 to go in the half. Neither team tallied another score for the remainder of the frame as Indiana took the 5-2 lead into intermission.

The Crimson changed the entire momentum of the games in the early stages of the third, scoring three goals in less than 90 seconds to tie the contest up at 5-5. Sophomore Kristen Hong scored twice within the first minute of the third and Osborne notched her second goal of the game at the 6:36 mark.

Harvard stayed on the attack and freshman Sofia Carrera-Justiz found the back of the net to give the Crimson its first lead of the game at 6-5. Ribordy then followed her classmate with her second goal of the day and Harvard led by two (7-5) to force an Indiana timeout with 4:14 to play in the frame.

The Crimson led by as many as three (9-6) after goals from junior Sami Strutner and Martinelli, but Indiana managed to climb within two (10-8) of the Crimson heading into the fourth quarter.

Indiana started the scoring in the fourth to make it 10-9 until freshman Julie Harrison fought off a defender on her back and finished to give the Crimson a two-goal cushion once again (11-9) with 5:13 to play.

The Hoosiers slowly crept back in the game throughout the quarter and finally tied the contest at 11-11 with 3:35 to play. It wouldn't take long for Harvard to retake the lead, as Hong scored her fourth goal of the game with 2:23 to go to put Harvard up, 12-11.

Junior Cleo Harrington and the Crimson defense did the rest, holding off multiple Indiana chances in the late goings. Harrington finished with 10 saves, including a number of clutch saves in big moments throughout for the Crimson.

Harvard will be back in action tomorrow against the winner of eighth-seeded St. Francis (PA) and first-seeded No. 7 Michigan at 4:30 p.m.