Women's Water Polo Gives Big Performance Against Ranked Opponents

Two weeks into the season, the Harvard women’s water polo team came into the games hoping to prove their place among the top teams in the nation.

On the road for the first time this season, the No. 21 Crimson squad (5-1), buoyed by veteran leadership and a productive core of freshmen, continued its formidable start to the season, posting a 3-1 record at the Brown Invitational in Providence to push its overall record to 5-1. Along the way, Harvard defeated No. 13 Indiana for the first time in program history, having previously gone 0-13 all-time against the Hoosiers, and shouldered past No. 20 Marist, 9-8. The Crimson closed out the tournament with a blowout victory over St. Francis.

Harvard’s lone defeat came in a hard-fought match to No. 4 Hawaii to open the tournament.


From the opening sprint, the first ever meeting between the Crimson and St. Francis Brooklyn was a one-sided affair. Harvard shut out the Terriers (0-4) through 24 minutes and got four-goal performances each from junior attacker Melissa Balding, freshman attacker Kristen Hong, and sophomore attacker Sami Strutner to pace its offense.


“[Coach Ted Minnis] always talks about not playing down to teams,” senior attacker Charlotte Hendrix said. “We tried to just go into that game and play how we know how to play, and think of them as fourth-ranked Hawaii or 13th-ranked Indiana and think of how we came out against them. We were able to do that, put them down early, and kept them down the entire game.”

With its first double-digit margin win of the tournament, the Crimson swept the second day of its tournament slate.


Hendrix scored the game-tying goal in regulation and again in overtime to launch Harvard to its first victory over Indiana (3-3) in 19 years. Down 10-9 in the waning minutes of the final quarter, the Crimson stepped up to the plate and forced overtime.

“We went into the fourth quarter and we just said, ‘guys, we’re not losing this game. Let’s go for it’,” Hendrix said.

Harvard got a six-on-five in the last few minutes, and junior defender Zoe Osborne’s errant pass landed right in front of Hendrix, who quickly took advantage of her good fortune and threw home the tying goal.

“It’s just one of those instances,” Hendrix said. “It gave us that edge back and gave us a chance to prove ourselves in overtime.”

The Crimson scored the first two goals in the overtime periods on goals from Hendrix and junior attacker Michelle Martinelli to take the lead for good.


Senior attacker Yoshi Anderson netted a pair of goals in the final frame to lead Harvard to a comeback win over the Red Foxes (2-6).


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