No. 22 Harvard Hosts Trio of Ranked Teams as CWPA Action Begins With 17 Games at Blodgett

No. 22 Harvard Hosts Trio of Ranked Teams as CWPA Action Begins With 17 Games at Blodgett

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Blodgett Pool
Ivy League Network

Saint Francis (Pa.)
Sat., March 24 / 12:45 p.m.
W, 13-7 (3/24/18)
Harvard leads, 5-0

No. 13 Indiana
Sat., April 7 / 7 p.m.
L, 11-10 (3/24/18)
Harvard trails, 2-16

No. 9 Michigan
Sun., April 8 / 11:45 a.m.
L, 11-5 (4/29/17)
Harvard trails, 2-11-1

No. 12 Hartwick

Sun., April 8 / 4:45 p.m.
L, 10-7 (4/30/17)
Harvard trails, 5-31

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – The No. 22 Harvard women's water polo team will begin conference play against St. Francis (12-9) and No. 13 Indiana in Blodgett Pool on Saturday, April 7. The Crimson (13-11) take to the pool on Sunday versus No. 9 Michigan and No. 12 Hartwick. A total of 17 Collegiate Water Polo Association (CWPA) contests will take place in Blodgett Pool, with all the matches being broadcast on the Ivy League Network. Senior captains Sami Strutner and Cleo Harrington will be recognized prior to the matchup against the Hoosiers at 7 p.m. on Saturday.

Scouting No. 22 Harvard
The Crimson closed out its non-conference schedule at the Red Flash Tournament in Pennsylvania. Harvard was narrowly defeated by No. 13 Indiana, 11-10, before topping the host St. Francis, 13-7, and George Washington, 14-8. The latest CWPA Poll places the Crimson at No. 22 at the onset of league action.

Harvard's lineup is versatile in its attack. Junior Kristen Hong leads a contingent of 20+ goal scorers. With 51 goals this season, the Orinda, California native has scored 50 or more times in each season as a Crimson student-athlete. Mathilde Ribordy (41), Sofia Carrera-Justiz (34), Olivia Price (32), Sami Strutner (27), and Quinne Pursell (24) have all found the back of the net on at least two-dozen occasions. Ribordy's, Strutner's and Haley Bowe's (14) totals are all season-best outputs. Carrera-Justiz lead the squad with 43 assists and 30 steals. Hong (24a, 27s) and Strutner (19a, 19s) are second and third in those categories.

Junior Sam Acker and senior Cleo Harrington continue to split time in net with a high-level of success. Both goalies have 135 saves to date. Harrington holds the edge in steals 18-to-7, while Acker has more assists 16-to-12.

Scouting Saint Francis
The Red Flash went 0-4 at its namesake tournament two weeks ago. SFU lost to George Washington, 15-11, No. 22 Harvard, 13-7, No. 13 Indiana, 15-5, and Bucknell, 15-9. Marialena Seletopoulou led the Red Flash with nine goals over the four contests, while Kelly Fehr tallied seven. Saint Francis begins its weekend at Brown on Friday, April 6. The Crimson take on the Red Flash on Saturday at 12:45 p.m.

Scouting No. 13 Indiana
The Hoosiers won three matches at the Red Flash Tournament, before dropping a CWPA match against No. 9 Michigan, 9-7. Sarah Young and Karrrie Kozokar led Indiana with two goals each against the Wolverines, while Emily Powell, Kelly Matthews and Megan Abarta also accounted for a pair of points (1g, 1a) per person. Goaltender Jessica Gaudreault recorded 12 saves in the loss.

Scouting No. 9 Michigan
With the Wolverines defeat of the Hoosiers, they have won 16 straight matches and stand at 23-7 and 1-0 in the CWPA. Eleven of the wins during that stretch have come against ranked opponents. Maddy Steere and Julia Sellers pace UM with 56 and 53 goals, respectively, while Kim Johnson (47g, 17a) is third. Caroline Anderson (28g, 54a) leads the team with 82 points. Heidi Ritner is primary goaltender, having played more than 700 minutes with a goal against average of 5.92. Michigan will play Brown, Bucknell, and George Washington, before taking on Harvard on Sunday at 11:45 a.m.

Scouting No. 12 Hartwick
The Hawks are 2-0 in league play, but have dropped their two most recent contests. Hartwick lost to No. 3 Southern California, 21-9, and No. 7 Cal-Irvine, 12-8, last weekend. Zsofia Polak led the Hawks with four goals, while five others tallied at least one. Polak leads the squad with 138 points (85g, 53a), while Lena Kotanchyan is the leading scorer with 86 goals. Tori Wilson is third on the team with 69 goals, adding 49 assists. Hannah Edwards leads a quintet of goaltenders with more than 355 minutes played and 87 saves. Josette Santos (291 minutes, 76 saves) and Sabrina Hartwell (217 minutes played, 60 saves) are next on the depth chart. Hartwick will meet Bucknell, George Washington, and Princeton, before facing Harvard on Sunday at 4:45 p.m.

Follow the Leader
The Harvard captains are senior attacker Sami Strutner and senior goalie Cleo Harrington

Crim-of-the-Crop
The Crimson program has continued to rise under the tutelage of the Friends of Harvard Water Polo Head Coach Ted Minnis. Harvard finished last season with its highest-ever final national ranking (No. 15) following an appearance in a CWPA Championship Semifinal after defeating No. 16 Indiana. 

Class of 2020
Four new faces appear in the Harvard lineup this season: Jilly CroninQuinne PursellOlivia Price, and Remedy Ryan. Pursell and Price are attackers, while Ryan is a 2-meter player, and Cronin is listed as utility personnel. 

Championship Aspirations
Harvard continues to climb the championship ladder. The Crimson finished fourth in the conference in 2016-17, improving upon sixth place finishes in each of the two seasons prior. Harvard eliminated No. 16 Indiana in the quarterfinal round.