No. 21 Women’s Water Polo Tops Toronto, No. 18 San Jose State at Harvard invite

Kristen Hong had a hat trick in the win over San Jose State (Gil Talbot).
Kristen Hong had a hat trick in the win over San Jose State (Gil Talbot).
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CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – The No. 21 Harvard women's water polo team (6-3) started the Harvard Invitational off with victories over Toronto and No. 18 San Jose State. The Crimson defeated Toronto in an exhibition, 7-3, and downed San Jose State, 7-6, in its afternoon contest.

Harvard 7, Toronto 3 (Exhibition)
The Crimson exploded with six goals in the opening period to take a commanding 6-1 lead over the Varsity Blues. Harvard tacked on another goal in the second quarter and then defense took over in the last two frames, as Harvard closed out the 7-3 victory.

- Sophomore Mathilde Ribordy scored the game's first and third goals, the lone Harvard player with multiple goals.
- Junior Haley Bowe registered the would-be game-winning goal. She also had a steal and assist.
- Sophomore Sofia Carrera-Justiz assisted on the first three goals of the game for Harvard.
- Junior Sam Acker posted four saves in goal, earning the win.

Harvard 7, San Jose State 6
Harvard's afternoon matinee was a back-and-forth affair. The game saw six lead changes and the score tied five times, but in the end, it was two fourth quarter Harvard goals by senior Sami Strutner and junior Kristen Hong that sealed the win for the Crimson. 

"I was really happy with the way we played on the defensive end of the pool in the second half," said Ted Minnis, The Friends of Harvard Water Polo Head Coach. "Our defense led to some steals and got us out into transition." 

Ribordy had Harvard's first goal in the game, tying the game at 1-1 at the end of the first quarter. Goals by freshman Quinne Pursell and junior Kristen Hong swung the scoreboard in Harvard's favor, 3-2, at halftime.

San Jose State jumped back in front with the first two goals of the third quarter, but Hong and Pursell scored again to send the game to the final quarter knotted at 5-5. Strutner's goal came with 4:41 left in the game and Hong's scored 58 seconds later on a penalty shot to give Harvard a lead that San Jose State could not overcome.

- The win was the first-ever over the Spartans in the eight-game history of the series. It was also the second win over a team from the MPSF Conference and first since a 2002 win over Arizona State.
- Hong notched a hat trick in the game and Pursell scored twice.
- Senior Cleo Harrington had six saves in the victory.

Harvard plays two more games Sunday at its own Invite, playing No. 15 Wagner at 9:20 a.m. and Siena at 12 p.m. Both games will be shown on the Ivy League Network.