With a sudden-death overtime win over Iona, Harvard women’s water polo wrapped up a perfect weekend at the MAAC/East Challenge in Princeton, NJ.
The Crimson (7-2) extended its winning streak to five straight decisions, defeating Wagner (5-10), Villanova (0-11), and Iona (3-3).
Junior attacker Aisha Price spearheaded the Harvard offense with 12 goals, and freshman goalies Ariel Dukes and Jasmine Griffin headlined defensive efforts with 10 and 11 saves, respectively, for the weekend.
With junior defender Elise Molnar out with injuries, the Crimson needed a spark to get going defensively. Without Molnar’s defensive presence, the Crimson found itself in an early hole against Iona and struggled to keep Wagner at bay.
But several Crimson players stepped up with big defensive plays over the weekend. Sophomore attacker Shayna Price had 18 steals, with co-captain 2-meter Devan Kennifer adding 11.
In addition, seven Harvard players recorded multiple steals against Villanova.
“It was a total team effort,” Harvard coach Ted Minnis said. “I think we played some of the best team ball we’ve played all year.”
HARVARD 14, IONA 13
After the Crimson’s narrow one-point loss to Iona in its season opener, the Gaels tested the Crimson again, but an overtime score from Shayna Price, who is also a Crimson sports comper, gave Harvard a 14-13 overtime win to close out the squad’s 3-0 weekend.
Iona stormed out to a strong early lead, scoring six unanswered goals and looking ready to cruise to another victory.
But in the second quarter, Harvard fought back with a run of its own, scoring four goals in the frame to narrow the deficit to 6-4.
As the game progressed, the Crimson and the Gaels continued to trade blows until the game was tied at 9-9 in the final frame, forcing the game into overtime.
In the opening overtime period, Iona once again came charging out of the gates with early goals to make the score 12-10. But Harvard answered and continued to claw its way back, capitalizing on a 6-on-5 goal to cut the Gaels lead to 12-11.
With less than 30 seconds to go in the second overtime period, Kennifer came up with a game-saving play, turning a steal into a goal that leveled the score once again at 13-13, forcing a final sudden-death period.
In the frame, the two teams were held scoreless for the first few possessions until Shayna Price found the back of the net to lift the Crimson to victory and end the game.