#9 Water Polo Pulls Away From #20 Harvard

Rachel Krieger (photo by Richard Quinton)
Rachel Krieger (photo by Richard Quinton)

STOCKTON, Calif. - Rachel Krieger scored four goals as the No. 9 Pacific women's water polo team won its home opener over No. 20 Harvard, 9-5, Wednesday night at Chris Kjeldsen Pool.

Earlier in the day, the Tigers fell in an exhibition match against the China National Team, 11-10.

Kyra Christmas added two goals for the Tigers against Harvard, while Mariana Duarte, Viktoria Tamas and Ellen Tiedemann also scored for Pacific. Alexis Hollinrake made 11 saves with one steal, holding the Crimson to 5-of-30 shooting and just three goals in the first 29:46 of the game, and three even strength goals in the contest. Hollinrake also posted a pair of assists, setting up goals from Tiedemann and Tamas.

The Crimson opened with the first two goals of the game, as Sami Strutner picked up a 6-on-5 goal and Kristen Hong finished cross cage for a 2-0 Harvard lead with 4:02 to go in the first.

Krieger restarted quickly on a 6-on-5 advantage and ripped home a goal to cut the margin in half before Hollinrake sprung Tiedemann on a breakaway goal to tie the game with 2:28 to go in the first.

In the second quarter, Christmas picked off a pass mid-pool and sprinted in on a breakaway, pulling up for a lob shot finish and a 3-2 Tigers lead. But Michelle Martinelli took a pass in the middle from Hong and put it in the lower left side to draw even.

Krieger gave the Tigers the lead for good, 4:59 before halftime, as she took a quick entry pass from Karolina Hlavata in the center and converted on the power-play for a 4-3 lead that stood until halftime.

In the third, Hollinrake delivered a long-pass to Tamas who put it past the keeper for the Tigers' first multi-goal lead of the game. The lead grew as Christmas powered a shot through the arms of the defense and into the net for a 6-on-5 goal and a 6-3 Pacific lead.

Krieger completed the hat trick in the fourth quarter, with a shot from center under the keeper's arm for a 7-3 Pacific advantage. The Tigers began milking the shot clock, with Krieger tallying from center, six meters away to the top left corner with the shot clock dwindling.

Lana Gorlinski posted Harvard's first goal in 19:22 of game time, to cut the gap to 8-4 with 2:14 to play, and Hong scored from the side over the keeper to pull within 8-5 with 28 seconds left. Duarte added a late goal off a Tamas pass to settle on the final 9-5 margin.

Pacific improved to 11-7 on the year, and finished the evening 3-of-5 on the power play. Harvard falls to 7-8 on the season.

In the exhibition against China, Duarte and Krieger each scored twice, but China slipped ahead late for the 11-10 win.

Krieger opened the scoring with a goal off the post and in at the 6:41 mark, and after Duarte gave the Tigers a 2-1 lead, Zhu Ya Jing answered for Team China. Sun Yu Jun tied the game at 2-2. Tamas put the Tigers in front, 3-2, before Mei Siao Han knotted the game at three after the first quarter.

In the second, Aelish Guinn slipped a skip shot through for a 4-3 lead. Du Yu Xiao tied it up with 4:45 to go, before a goal from Christmas put Pacific in front, 5-4 and then Duarte  gave the Tigers a 6-4 lead at halftime.

Song Dong Lun picked up a goal in the third, but Krieger answered for the Tigers. Yan Jing pulled China within 7-6. Du Yu Xiao tied the gam at 7-7 with 1:17 to go in the third.
Catie Mahnke and Xia Qun traded goals before a Kennedy Watson finished a rebound for a 9-8 Pacific lead.

Zhang Cong tied the game at 9-9 with 4:54 to go in the fourth, and Zhu Ya Jing scored a 6-on-5 goal for China's first lead of the game at a 10-9 with 2:26 remaining. Karolina Hlavata tied the game with 47 seconds left in regulation, but Sun Yu Jun's goal with 8.5 seconds remaining proved to be the game-winner as Christmas' skip shot missed just left on the Tigers' final possession

Hollinrake made five saves in the first three quarters, with Sam Pfaff making two in the fourth. Yang Jun made five first-half saves for China, with Li Wei Yu posting four saves in the second half.

Pacific is back in action on Saturday, March 25, at Azusa Pacific in the Golden Coast Conference opener at 11 a.m.