With eight minutes to go, the Harvard women’s water polo team seemed poised to defeat Ivy League rival Brown and punch its ticket to the CWPA Southern Division Championship final. But the Bears scored four goals in the fourth quarter to erase a 5-3 Crimson lead and claim the semifinal, 7-6, on Saturday in Lewisburg, Pa.
“[We are] a little bitter about the finish,” co-captain Devan Kennifer said. “Losing to Brown was not fun. It left quite a bit of taste but gave us some fire for the end of the season.”
Harvard (15-10, 4-1 CWPA) finished the weekend 2-1, defeating Mercyhurst and Bucknell by wide margins to take third place at the Southern Division Championship.
“This league has gone back and forth all over the place,” Kennifer said. “It is really anyone’s game. It is tough getting edged out of that first-place game because we wanted a shot at Princeton, and we knew we could take them. It is fuel for the end of the season. It’s not going to hold us back.”
HARVARD 15, BUCKNELL 7
The Crimson faced Bucknell (14-21, 2-3) in its final match of the weekend on Sunday.
“Bucknell was kind of brutal,” freshman goalie Ariel Dukes said. “The other team was really aggressive, but our girls were very tough and wouldn’t let them hang around. It would have been easier for the girls not to try because [we were upset that] we were in the third-place game, but everyone still tried their hardest.”
The first period was a high scoring affair with both teams capitalizing on offensive opportunities. At the end of the first frame, Harvard led, 4-3.
In the second period, the Crimson turned up the defensive pressure, limiting the Bison to one goal while adding five more scores to gain a five-goal lead heading into halftime.
Harvard coasted in the second half, adding six more goals to take third place.
Kennifer scored four times in the contest while Harvard teammates senior Monica Zdrojewski and sophomore Shayna Price contributed three goals apiece.
BROWN 7, HARVARD 6
After opening Saturday with a win in its first game of the tournament, the Crimson fell, 7-6, to the Bears (19-14, 3-2).
Harvard went goal for goal with Brown in the first and second periods, and the teams went into halftime knotted at two.
In the third, the Crimson outscored Brown, 3-1, to take a 5-3 lead going into the final quarter.