By JP Vieira
Harvard Women’s Water Polo Team Builds on Historic Start
The Crimson kick off their season with a historic 9-0 record
By JP VIEIRA
Harvard women’s water polo team is off to an incredible 9-0 start to the season, best in school history. The team, ranked No. 17, began the Bucknell Bison Invite on February 9th with two straight victories over Gannon (by a score of 18-5) and Salem (by a score of 11-5).
The game against Gannon seemed close after the first quarter, with the Crimson leading Gannon by a score of 4-2. Led by freshman Evan Tingler and senior Kristen Hong, Harvard took a convincing and demoralizing lead of 11-4 into the half. The second half was all Harvard as they finished the game, outscoring Gannon 7-1 to take a commanding win with a score of 18-5. The next game, against Salem, was more of the same from Harvard’s women water polo team. After the first quarter, Harvard was up 4-1 and they didn’t let up. The Crimson went on to score 11 times, and thanks to the help of freshman goalie Zoe Banks, that was more than enough to take the commanding victory against Salem. Another notable performance after the first day of the Bison Invite came from senior Kristen Hong who tallied seven goals, two assists, two steals, and a block over two games.
The next two games, both at the Bucknell Bison Invite, were on February 10th. Harvard women’s water polo team looked to extend the team’s best start in program history from 7-0 to 9-0, as they faced Siena and then Wagner. The first game, against Siena, saw Harvard down early 2-0 as Siena came out firing. The Crimson, however, were not to be subdued as the Harvard team scored five straight goals to take a 5-2 lead. Harvard finished the first half with a 9-4 lead, thanks to a collective team effort from freshman Borden Wahl, senior Kristen Hong, sophomore Olivia Price, junior Sofia Carrera-Justiz, freshman Evan Tingler, and junior Mathilde Ribordy (who all recorded goals and helped build such a substantial lead). Siena started off the second half guns-blazing, in an attempt to make a desperate comeback, but Harvard’s offensive attack proved too strong as they went on to win 16-8.
The final game would be the Crimson’s biggest test in the season so far as they faced No. 18 Wagner. The contest was back-and-forth from the beginning. Wagner took an early lead, but sophomore Olivia Price leveled the score again; the third quarter ended with both teams tied 9-9. As the game went into the final minutes, freshman Borden Wahl gave the Crimson the lead 11-10. With a great defensive effort, goalie Zoe Banks preserved the lead, giving Harvard the deserved victory over Wagner. Notable players of the day were freshmen Zoe Banks and Borden Wahl. Banks finished the day with 17 saves, two assists, and two steals, and Wahl added five goals, two assists, and a steal. Harvard finished the day with a record of 9-0 (by far best start in school history) and will resume play on March 1-3rd as the Crimson host Brown, Princeton, California Baptist, and UC Davis for the Harvard Invitational. The season is already off to an incredible opening, so be sure to support the women’s water polo team as they look to build on an already historic start!
JP Vieira ‘21 ([email protected]) is excited for the team to continue its historic level of play!