In a road trip to the nation’s capital, Harvard women’s water polo picked up two decisive wins over Mercyhurst and George Washington, 10-4 and 18-12, respectively, in a Saturday doubleheader at George Washington University.
The two wins clinched a No. 2 seed for the Crimson in the CWPA Southern Division Championship.
“These were two crucial games to win,” senior attacker Shannon Purcell said. “We’re heading into the Southern Division tournament in second place, and if we had lost to either or both of these teams, we would have received a lower seed.”
After this weekend, the Crimson (12-9, 4-1 CWPA) will play No. 19 Hartwick in its last home game of the season before traevling to compete in the CWPA Southern Division Championship and the CWPA Eastern Championship.
“This is the part of the season that really matters,” senior two-meter Devan Kennifer said. “I don’t think we are going to do anything much different but rather try to find our weaknesses and clean them up before we play in the games that matter.”
HARVARD 18, GEORGE WASHINGTON 12
The second game of the doubleheader played out to a different, more offensive tune.
The Crimson’s 18 goals were the most the team has scored since an April 2 contest at Connecticut College last season.
Capitalizing on a shorter, shallower pool, Harvard played spoiler on George Washington’s (8-10, 1-4) Senior Day.
“A lot of [our success] had to do with the fact that we were playing in a shallow-deep pool, and it was only 25 yards long,” Purcell said. “We saw areas that they were dropping back, and we attacked from there.”
Harvard scored at least five goals in three frames, and a variety of players found the back of the net for the Crimson.
Junior attacker Aisha Price, senior attacker Lizzie Abbott, and Kennifer each scored four goals against the Colonials. Purcell added three scores of her own.
Harvard was able to get a variety of looks at the goal from outside and in 6-on-5 situations.
“There was a lot of outside shooting,” Purcell said. “Our 6-on-5 was really good that game. We made really good reads. We also had a lot of great shots out of set.”
While Harvard controlled the offensive tempo for the majority of this game, George Washington was able to narrow the lead to a couple scores in the third frame and wake up the large crowd of Colonial fans.