In losses to top-ten powers California and Princeton, sophomore goalie Ariel Dukes only tallied five and seven saves, respectively. A day later, Dukes was sharper, making eight stops as her women’s water polo team topped the New York Athletic Club, and then accruing 10 saves in a victory over Villanova.
In its second weekend of competition, the Harvard women’s water polo team started off with two straight losses, but righted the ship the next day with a pair of victories.
Playing in the Princeton Invitational in New Jersey, the Crimson took on two of the best teams in the nation on Saturday in No. 4 California and No. 10 Princeton. Although unranked Harvard competed with both teams for stretches, the Crimson fell to the Golden Bears, 14-5, and lost to the Tigers by a score of 11-7.
Harvard took on easier competition Sunday and bounced back first against the New York Athletic Club, cruising to a 20-9 victory. The Crimson ended its road trip on a similarly strong note with a 19-4 win against Villanova.
“I thought it was a really good weekend,” Harvard coach Ted Minnis said. “Cal and Princeton are two top-ten teams, and they were both close games in the third, so I thought we did really well. We don’t want to be playing our best water polo in February. We made some mistakes, and we have some things we can go back and work on.”
HARVARD 20, NYAC 9
Facing off against the New York Athletic Club, the Crimson dominated from start to finish and coasted to an 11-goal victory.
The team outscored NYAC in each quarter, and every Harvard player who entered the pool registered at least a point in the contest.
“I think that’s what makes this team so special, is that all ten of [the players] are going to produce this year and do something,” Minnis said. “And I think that’s fun, to watch them go out there and support each other and play hard for each other.”
The Crimson was led by freshman Charlotte Hendrix, who posted a career-high seven goals to spearhead the Harvard offense. Hendrix also contributed on the defensive end with a team-best three steals.
"I think I performed decently,” Hendrix said. “I still think I have things to improve on, but I was just the one to finish the play; it was really all of us working together to get to that point.”
Freshman Yoshi Andersen and sophomore Victoria Frager posted solid offensive numbers with three goals each, and two other players followed with a pair apiece.
The Crimson capped off the weekend with a 19-4 win against Villanova. Harvard took advantage of five goals while up a player to record its largest margin of victory on the season.
PRINCETON 11, HARVARD 7
The Crimson failed to get anything going in the first half against the Tigers, and went into the break trailing, 6-2.
Although the Harvard offense kept pace with Princeton in the second half, with each team scoring five goals, the Crimson could never overcome the early deficit.