Water Polo Off To Best Start in Five Seasons

Full Purce
Meredith H. Keffer

Sophomore Shannon Purcell, shown here in earlier action, scored twice in each of the women’s water polo team’s two wins on Saturday. After falling to No. 5 Michigan, 13-3, yesterday morning, Harvard rebounded with a 10-5 win over George Washington. The Crimson is off to its best start in five years.

For women’s water polo, the Princeton Invitational was a tale of two completely opposite days. The two games played on Saturday, one against Iona and the other against Wagner, were back-and-forth throughout, with Harvard (6-1) coming away with two competitive wins.

In a complete reversal, yesterday’s play featured two blowouts. Against No. 5 Michigan, the Crimson was the victim, but versus George Washington, Harvard easily took the victory.

Finishing the weekend with three wins and matching its win total from its home tournament two weeks ago, Harvard improves to 6-1 for the season—its best start in the last five seasons.

“Last year, we had some of the same situations and couldn’t quite win the games,” sophomore Devan Kennifer said. “This year, we’re a different team.”

The Crimson returns to Princeton next weekend for the ECAC Championships.

“We did a lot of great things...but things get more challenging each successive weekend,” Harvard coach Erik Farrar said.


What Michigan did to the Crimson early yesterday morning, Harvard did later in the day to George Washington. The Crimson controlled the game from the first whistle onward, leading, 8-2, going into the fourth quarter.

“The scoring was all over the place against GW,” Farrar said. “It was an overall well-structured, well-balanced attack, and we were successful with it.”

After taking a 2-1 lead to the end of the first quarter, the Crimson led, 5-2, going into halftime. The Colonials were shut out in the third quarter, when Harvard scored three unanswered goals.

As in Saturday’s contest against Wagner, six players split Harvard’s 10 goals. Junior Patricia Smith led the Crimson with three goals in the game, while sophomores Ita Kettleborough-Barton and Kennifer each scored a pair.


“Michigan is obviously a very strong test,” Farrar said the night before the game. “We get a chance to see how good we really are.”

Michigan proved too much for the Crimson to handle, giving Harvard its first loss of the season in a blowout. Though ranked fifth, the Wolverines had three losses coming into the weekend—all against top-10 teams.

“They were very effective in stifling our defense,” Farrar said. “Their national ranking is well-deserved.”