Led by Diana Murphy’s four-goal effort, the No. 7 Princeton women’s water polo team topped Harvard, 11-9, live on ESPNU Sunday at DeNunzio Pool. The victory extends the Tigers’ season-opening win streak and improves them to 11-0 on the year.
Princeton has now completed its very brief home schedule and will play the remainder of its games on the road, beginning with a return trip to Cambridge, Mass. for the Harvard Invitational for three games from Mar. 8-9.
Harvard did not let down throughout the contest, managing the scoreboard five times through the first half. After a Katie Rigler goal tied things up with 33 seconds left in the first quarter, the Crimson responded with a 2-0 run into the second to hold a 6-4 advantage. It would be the largest deficit the Tigers would climb out of for the remainder of the outing.
Murphy showcased her strength in the center, posting back-to-back goals with a man-on, to set up a 3-0 run and lift Princeton to a 7-6 advantage at 4:07.
Princeton was unable to corral control for good, as Harvard knotted things up before Murphy put in the hat trick to close out the half and give the Tigers an 8-7 lead.
Murphy’s four goals matched her career high.
In a tale of two halves, it was Princeton’s defense to highlight the final two quarters. While scoring came at a premium, as the Tigers outscored the Crimson 3-2, it was all Ashleigh Johnson over the final 16 minutes.
After not making a save in the first quarter, Johnson was nearly impenetrable in the second half and finished with 17 saves and two steals. Her 17 stops are third-best this season for the sophomore goaltender.
Rigler recorded her third hat trick in four games, along with two assists and a steal, while Molly McBee added two steals, a goal and an assist. Jessie Holechek netted twice and had two assists, and Ashley Hatcher had two assists, a goal and a steal.
No. 7 Princeton: 4 – 4 – 2 – 1 – 11
Harvard: 5 – 2 – 1 – 1 – 9
Goals: Murphy 4, Hatcher 1, McBee 1, Rigler 3, Holechek 2
Assists: Hatcher 2, McBee 1, Dunstan 2, Rigler 2, Temple 1, Holechek 2
Steals: Hatcher 1, McBee 2, Rigler 1, Temple 1, Johnson 2
Saves: Johnson 17