CAMBRIDGE, Mass. - The No. 12 Harvard men's water polo team defeated No. 17 George Washington, 15-13, in overtime at Blodgett Pool on Saturday afternoon in the opening round of the NCAA Tournament. Harvard advances to play No. 1 Southern California on Thursday, Nov. 30 at 10 p.m.
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Sophomore Austin Sechrest got the Crimson on the board first, scoring the first goal of the game for Harvard less than 30 seconds into the first quarter. After a goal by George Washington just seconds later to tie the game, freshman Jackson Enright notched a goal to edge the Crimson above the Colonials, 2-1. George Washington answered with another goal, but freshman Dennis Blyashov fired right back, securing the 3-2 lead for the Crimson. With three seconds left in the first quarter, Sechrest netted a penalty shot to tie the game at five goals apiece.
Senior captain Harry Tafur scored the opening goal in the second quarter for the Crimson before freshman Dennis Blyashov secured his second and third goals of the day. Freshman Bruno Snow netted the difference-maker for the Crimson, securing Harvard's 9-8 lead with four seconds left in the first half. At the end of the third quarter, both teams remained tied at 11 goals apiece.
In the fourth quarter, Harvard looked to edge the Colonials in the remaining eight minutes. The Colonials struck first, two minutes into the fourth quarter, for the 12-11 lead. Blyashov once again found the back of the net to bring Harvard within one of George Washington's 13-12 lead. With less than a minute left in regulation, Enright made the steal and brought the ball into the offensive zone and shot the ball to even the score at 13-13, forcing overtime.
Less than 30 seconds into the extra period, Blyashov once again found the back of the net, giving the Crimson a 14-13 edge. Senior captain Colin Chiapello followed up with a goal of his own. Harvard led George Washington at the end of the overtime period, 15-13. The Crimson defeated the Colonials, 15-13.