While the Harvard women’s water polo team’s annual spring break trip to California served as a homecoming for more than half of the squad, it was not an entirely joyous occasion for the Golden State natives, as the team went 1-4 for the week.
Despite the losing record, the scores of the games, two of which were against top-20 teams, demonstrated the team’s strong progress.
“We played [UC] Santa Barbara really closely and UC Irvine really closely,” co-captain Devan Kennifer said. “We played our hearts out.... Hopefully, that attitude will carry into our East Coast play. The East Coast teams aren’t nearly as hyped up, so hopefully we can get that advantage over them now that we’ve played on the West Coast.”
NO. 6 UC IRVINE 15, HARVARD 8
The Crimson (9-9, 1-1 CWPA Southern) stuck with the Anteaters (17-5) for most of their game, bringing the score within two goals at the end of the third. But Harvard could not manage to hold on in the final frame and allowed eight Irvine goals in just a few minutes.
“Our game against Irvine was a breaking point actually,” said Kennifer, who led the team in goals with a hat trick. “We were a lot more mobile than we had been in the past. By changing up our style of play, [they] didn’t know what to expect.”
Harvard’s defense shined throughout the first three quarters, thanks in large part to the play of freshman goalie Ariel Dukes, who tallied 13 saves.
Harvard knotted the score at three as late as the start of the second half.
CAL BAPTIST 12, HARVARD 10
On Saturday morning, in one of many close games for the week, the Crimson helped establish a name for East Coast water polo against one of California’s top teams.
Six Harvard players scored, with junior attacker Aisha Price leading the squad with four goals.
In her dominant middle quarters, Price helped the Crimson engineer a large comeback and take a 9-8 lead early in the fourth.
But Harvard struggled to seal the deal. The Crimson fell apart in the closing quarter as Cal Baptist (14-8) went on a 4-0 run to bring its total to 12 goals.
LONG BEACH STATE 10, HARVARD 5
Harvard suffered arguably its toughest loss of the weekend on Friday, falling by the second widest margin of the trip to one of the week’s lowest ranked teams.