The postseason fate of the Harvard women’s water polo team is out of its hands, as the team dropped two out of three games this weekend at the Collegiate Water Polo Association (CWPA) Southern Championships.
On Saturday at Blodgett Pool, the Crimson (14-18, 3-3 CWPA South) won its first round game against George Washington, 12-3, before falling to No. 9 Princeton, 14-3, in the division semifinal. On Sunday, Bucknell beat Harvard, 9-6, in the third-place consolation match.
The Crimson still has the opportunity to play past this weekend’s matchups. The team will learn on Monday whether it will finish with a high enough seed within its conference to compete at the CWPA Eastern Championships, which will be held at Bucknell on April 25-27.
“This weekend’s games didn’t go as well as we were hoping considering we lost two of the three games,” Balding said. “We wanted to go 3-0 and get that first place seed for Easterns, but hopefully these weren’t our last games, and in two more weekends we can come out and do better.”
Bucknell 9, Harvard 6
In the second matchup between the two teams this season, the Bison (12-12, 3-2) once again came out victorious and took away the Crimson’s hopes of an automatic bid to the CWPA Eastern Championships.
The game was close throughout, with neither team ever leading by more than three goals. The first quarter of the game showcased each team’s defense. Bucknell came out of the first eight minutes with one goal, while Harvard was able to muster two past senior Bison goaltender Rena Heim, who made 7 saves.
Each defense proved itself in the second quarter of play as well, as the score was knotted at three going into halftime. The Crimson saw its offense in the first half come from sophomore attacker Yoshi Andersen, who had two of Harvard first three goals, and senior Jelena Cyr who added one.
Andersen led the team’s scoring on the day after registering another goal in the second half of play.
Bucknell’s offense went on a run late in the game to seal the win, with three goals coming in the fourth quarter. A goal from co-captain Shayna Price with 15 seconds remaining in the game could not save Harvard, and as time expired, the team saw its season slip away.
“It was a battle,” freshman attacker Melissa Balding said. “We fought really hard and even though we didn’t execute in all phases of the game, there were a lot of things we did well.”
Princeton 13, Harvard 4
Facing off against the No. 9 team in the country for the third time this season, the Crimson could not pull off the upset in its first loss of the weekend.
The Tigers (28-1, 5-0), the top ranked team in the CWPA South, jumped out to an early lead by scoring five unanswered goals in the first quarter.
Harvard’s offense could not match the speed and physicality of Princeton’s attack. The Tigers’ lead grew to 7-0 before the Crimson could put a goal past their keeper.