By JP Vieira
A Successful Split
Women’s Water Polo take on the Harvard Invite
By JP VIERIA
Coming from a successful Bison Invite, where the Harvard women’s Water Polo team went undefeated, expectations were high for the Harvard Invite in Cambridge. The women’s water polo team was off to an unprecedented start, the best in the school’s history at 9-0. The first game on their schedule was against Brown, on Friday March 1st. This would be their first Ivy League match of the season and the Crimson were more than ready for it.
After a relatively uneventful first period, sophomore attacker Quinne Pursell put the Crimson up 1-0. As they entered the second period, junior Mathilde Ribordy doubled Harvard’s lead. Heading into the half, Brown managed to bring the game to a tie at game at 3-3. Shortly after the beginning of the third period, Mathilde Ribordy netted her hat-trick, putting the Crimson up over the Bears once again. In the last period, the game was pretty close, but Harvard ultimately pulled away with goals from freshman Evan Tingler and senior Kristen Hong. In the end, Harvard won 7-6 and extended the best start in school history to 10-0.
The 15th ranked Harvard’s next game was on March 2nd against another Ivy League rival; this time the 18th ranked Princeton Tigers. Like the Brown game, both teams went into the half tied at three, with two goals from freshman Grace Thawley and a goal from junior Lana Gorlinski. Heading into the second half, both teams seemed evenly matched. In the closing minutes, senior Kristen Hong managed to give the Crimson a 6-5 lead, only to see the Tigers tie it up once again. The first four periods ended in a draw and the game went into overtime. Unfortunately, after an amazing battle on both sides, the Crimson fell 7-6, ending the win-streak and bringing their record to 10-1.
Later that afternoon, Harvard faced No. 24 California Baptist and the Crimson were looking to bounce back from a hard-fought loss to the Princeton Tigers earlier that day. Freshman Grace Thawley once again opened up the scoring for Harvard, followed by goals from sophomore Olivia Price and junior Lana Gorlinski. The teams headed into the half with Harvard leading 9-7. In the second half of play, senior Kristen Hong put the game away, ultimately scoring 5 goals and adding in 4 assists. Goal-tender Sam Acker helped Harvard maintain the lead in the final minutes, as the Crimson would go onto win by a score of 14-13.
The next day, March 4th, Harvard would start off their double-header by facing their highest ranked opponent so far this season: No. 11 UC Davis. Junior Sofia Carrera-Justiz put Harvard up early in the first period and again in the second period after the Aggies had tied it up 3-3. Ultimately, the Crimson went into the half down 8-5. In the second half, the Aggies ramped it up, going up 11-6 on Harvard. Unfortunately, despite an amazing run, Harvard felt just short of what would have been a miraculous comeback, losing 11-10.
Later that afternoon, for their final game of the Harvard Invite, the Crimson squared off against No. 24 ranked Bucknell. Harvard’s offensive fire power seemed to overwhelm Bucknell in the first half, as Carrera-Justiz, Hong, Pursell, and Bowe all scored, putting Harvard up 6-3 before the second half began. The Crimson’s offense continued to flow in the third period, as they added two more goals to their tally. Harvard ultimately won 8-6, moving to 12-2 on the season.
The Harvard Invite was overall a great learning experience for the Harvard Women’s Water Polo team, cementing their position as one of the top teams in the nation. They square off next against UC Davis on Saturday, March 16th in California.
JP Vieira ‘21 (firstname.lastname@example.org) is excited for the Water Polo team to continue its strong play.