Luka Babic led Harvard with three goals against Mercyhurst (Gil Talbot).
CAMBRIDGE, Mass -- A strong defensive performance and a second half rally gave the Harvard men's water polo team a dramatic 10-9 victory over Mercyhurst Sunday. Luka Babic netted a hat trick for the Crimson and Alexandre Popp added seven saves and four steals as Harvard improved to 6-10 overall.
The first quarter was a defensive struggle as neither team could muster many scoring chances. Merchyhurst scored the lone first quarter goal and took a 4-2 advantage into halftime. Senior co-captains Kevin DiSilvestro and Luka Babic provided the scoring for Harvard.
Babic added another goal to open the second half and the Crimson rallied for four consecutive scores in the quarter. Max Murphy scored at the 5:54 mark and William Roller found the back of the net with a lob over the Laker's goalie before Babic topped off the rally with his third goal of the day.
A Mercyhurst goal late in the third made the score 6-5 going into the final quarter.
Kevin DiSilvestro got the scoring started in the fourth with a goal with 5:14 left but Mercyhurst answered with two scores to tie the game at seven with 3:33 remaining. Max Murphy followed with a quick goal at the 3:14 mark to give Harvard the lead until Mercyhurst answered with a pair of goals in the next two minutes to give the Laker's a one goal advantage with a minute to play.
Harvard used a timeout to draw a play and Max Eliot converted within seconds to tie the score at nine. It was Eliot's team leading 27th goal of the season.
With less than 30 seconds to play, a lob pass from the top sailed over a pair of Laker defenders and into the middle of the Crimson offensive set where Evan Ramsey caught and fired past a diving Mercyhurst goalie and into the top left corner of the goal. The game winner came with 25 seconds to play and was Ramsey's sixth goal in the last two games.
The win gives Harvard momentum entering its annual California trip next weekend. The Crimson will square off against traditional water polo powers Cal Baptist, UC-Davis, Stanford, Pepperdine and Santa Clara over the course of three days.
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