No. 9 Men’s Water Polo Upends No. 3 California in Golden Goal Play

No. 9 Men’s Water Polo Upends No. 3 California in Golden Goal Play

DAVIS, Calif.-  On day one of the Aggie Round Up, the No. 9 Harvard men's water polo team made program history, beating the highest ranked opponent, No. 3 California, 15-14 in golden goal play. Harvard was able to successfully rebound after a narrow 10-9 loss to No. 8 UC Davis in the morning matchup.

Game two on the day between No. 9 Harvard and No. 3 California began defensive-based, leaving the first quarter tied at two and tied at six at the half. It wasn't until the third quarter that California took the lead with a trio of goals from Jordan Hoover, Joe Molina and Vassilis Tzavaras. The Crimson responded with goals from Charlie Owens and Bennie Seybold to cut the deficit to one (9-8) heading into the final period.

In the fourth quarter, both teams were able to net a goal, with strong showings from the respective defenses. With seven seconds left in regulation, Austin Sechrest fired a shot past the goalkeeper to tie the game at 12-12 and send the contest to overtime. The teams would tie the score twice before a second overtime period was forced with the score locked at 14-14.

After two tense overtime periods, the game went into golden goal, where the Crimson ultimately bested No. 3 California with a goal from Sechrest off a pass from Blyashov. Head Coach Ted Minnis loved the resilience his team presented throughout the game, "I thought our defense was good. We got into out zones really well and neutralized the center positions better than we have all season."

The Crimson began the day with a tough rematch against No. 8 UC Davis, suffering a 10-9 setback in the Aggie Round Up opener. During the first half of play, Dennis Blyashov put the first three Crimson goals in net, two of which came in the opening minutes. UC Davis responded with goals from Colter Knight, Riley Vene and Kyle Reilly to tie the game up at three with a little more than five minutes remaining in the second quarter. Back-to-back goals from Charlie Owens and Michael Sonsini closed out the half and put the Crimson back in the lead at 5-3.

UC Davis began the action during the second half with a goal from Eric Martel, followed 18 seconds later by Nathan Ondracek's six-on-five score. The back-and-forth scoring continued until the Aggies strung together two goals to tie the game at seven. The teams entered the fourth quarter with eight goals apiece. Unfortunately, the Crimson struggled to find holes in the Aggies' defense, adding only one additional goal compared to the Aggies two. UC Davis came out on top to tie the all-time series at 6-6.

Harvard Highlights

  • Austin Sechrest tallied a total of six goals on the day, four of which came in the game against California, including the game winner.
  • Anthony Ridgley put together a career-high 20 saves against California
  • Dennis Blyashov netted the first three goals for the Crimson against the Aggies.
  • Noah Hodge tallied 11 saves against UC Davis.
  • The win over No. 3 California is the highest in program history.

Up Next
The Crimson concludes the Aggie Round Up tomorrow with an 11 a.m. EST game against Chapman followed by Whittier at 4:15 p.m.