Women's Water Polo Begins Divisional Play with Three-Game Sweep
After a two-day, three-game road trip, the Harvard women’s water polo team (10-4, 2-0 EIWA) stretched its winning streak to five, taking down Mercyhurst, Bucknell, and Gannon, 11-3, 13-9, and 10-5, respectively.
The wins against the Lakers and the Bison marked the beginning of division play for the Crimson, which now sits at 2-0 in EIWA contests.
The Harvard defense–headed by sophomore goalie Ariel Dukes–shutout Mercyhurst (5-5) in the first half of competition, while limiting Bucknell (3-4, 1-2) to just one goal in the final quarter of the game after going score-for-score earlier in the match.
“I think we’ve really been trying to hone in on our defense,” co-captain Aisha Price said. “It would’ve been easy for it to become high-scoring games, but we wanted to focus on keeping goals out of the back of the net.”
Dukes, with nine saves in both the matches against the Lakers and the Golden Knights and 11 against the Bison, finished the weekend with 29 saves.
HARVARD 10, GANNON 5
After two strong team performances on Saturday, the Crimson was able to close out the weekend with a dominant win over Gannon (4-3). The win came after another solid defensive effort from Harvard, which tallied nine steals on the match. The game started slowly for the Crimson, taking a close, 3-2, lead over the Knights in the first eight minutes.
But Harvard found its stride and went on a 2-1 run, securing a 5-3 halftime advantage. After a slow third period that saw both teams scoring one apiece, the Crimson widened the gap in the fourth quarter, putting four in the back of the net and only giving up one to the Knights. The win secured a perfect 3-0 weekend for Harvard and provided a confidence booster for the team moving forward in the season.
“After this weekend, I think we have some confidence,” Price said. “Everyone put forth a really good effort and we came away with three big wins.”
Freshman Charlotte Hendrix led the offense with four goals and an assist to cap the weekend at seven goals, while junior Shayna Price and freshman Yoshi Andersen netted two apiece.
“I was very proud of the team this weekend,” Harvard coach Ted Minnis said. “We talked all week about dedicating ourselves to the defensive end of the pool…and we did a really good job of pressing and making teams have to move the ball under pressure.”
HARVARD 13, BUCKNELL 9
Following an 11-3 win over Mercyhurst that saw six different players score, the Crimson cruised to its second victory of the weekend against Bucknell, taking down the Bison, 13-9. After shutting out the Lakers in the first half, Harvard’s defense received more pressure from the Bucknell front, but was bolstered by its offense, which netted four goals in the final quarter to secure the win.
The Crimson jumped out to an early lead to begin the match, taking a 3-1 edge in the first quarter. But the Bison responded in suit, putting four in the back of the net to Harvard’s two, leaving the game on an even-playing field heading into halftime.