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Zepfel Nets Seven Goals As Men's Water Polo Splits on Opening Day of North-South Challenge

Ben Zepfel scored seven goals on Saturday to help the Crimson go 1-1 (Photo coursey: Justine Agaloos).

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – Quick starts proved to be the difference in both Harvard men's water polo matches in the North-South Challenge at Blodgett Pool Saturday.

After getting off to a slow start in the first game of the day against Bucknell (4-3) in a loss, 11-3, the Crimson (4-5) raced out to an early lead against Mercyhurst (4-2) en route to a win, 16-9.

In the opening round against Bucknell, the first half was the difference as the Bison jumped out to a 5-0 lead heading into halftime.

Harvard got on the board in the third quarter, but it wasn't enough as Bucknell struck for four more goals to put the game out of reach. The two teams both scored twice in the fourth quarter.

Ben Zepfel paced the Crimson with two goals, and Blake Lee added one of his own to up his team-best total to 18 for the year.

Noah Harrison, Zepfel and Lee paced the defense with two steals apiece, while Jimmy Field (five saves) and Colin Woolway (four saves) split time in goal for the sixth straight game.

Harvard learned its lesson as the Crimson flipped the script on Mercyhurst and jumped out to a 5-1 lead after the first period.

The Crimson maintained the four-goal advantage heading into the intermission before stretching the lead in the second half to seal the win and improve to 4-5 on the season.

Zepfel led the offensive attack for the second game in a row with a career-high five goals. Harrison added four more goals, while Robbie Fluegge and Evan Ramsey each tallied two scores. Lee contributed a single goal and four assists.

On the defensive end, Harrison had five of the team's 14 steals, and Field stopped 18 shots in goal for the Crimson.

Harvard will face George Washington at 10:30 a.m. Sunday in the fifth-place match of the North-Challenge. 

Stats
Bucknell 3-11 loss

Goals
Zepfel 2
Lee

Assists
Ramsey
Lee

Steals
Roller
Zepfel 2
Holland-McCowan
Lee 2
Harrison 2
Field

Saves
Woolway 4
Field 5

Mercyhurst 16-9 win

Goals
Fluegge 2
Zepfel 5
Holland-McCowan
Ramsey 2
Lee
Murphy
Harrison 4

Assists
Roller
Eliot
Lee 4
Harrison 2
Field

Steals 
Martinho
Fluegge 2
Zepfel
Ramsey
Lee 3
Murphy
Harrison 5

Saves
Field 18