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The Harvard women’s water polo team continued its early-season struggles this weekend, dropping two of three matches in the first of the year’s Brown Invitationals.
Bucknell 10, Harvard 9
The Crimson (1-6) seemed to emerge from its funk the previous weekend in Saturday’s first game against Bucknell, opening with a strong effort and quickly taking the lead.
But the squad could not maintain its initial burst of energy and let its lead slip away.
“We started ahead,” freshman Sarah Kennifer said. “But we lost focus by being ahead of them.”
With the two teams level and less than a minute remaining, the Bison (1-3) snuck a shot behind junior netminder Elana Miller, sealing the 10-9 Harvard defeat.
“The first game started off slow, and we made a lot of little mistakes,” Miller said. “By the second game, we came back strong and fixed those mistakes.”
Harvard 8, NYAC 7
The Crimson quickly overcame the setback, once again taking an early lead against New York Athletic Club (NYAC).
Learning from its mistakes in the previous game, Harvard maintained its high level of intensity for the duration of the contest, edging out NYAC 8-7.
“Against NYAC, we just continued to hit them,” Kennifer said.
No. 17 Brown 8, Harvard 2
The Crimson could not maintain its winning ways in its third match of the weekend, however, falling 8-2 to host and Ivy archrival No. 17 Brown (3-2).
Although Harvard was thoroughly dominated on the scoreboard, the game was closer than the six-goal margin, while the Crimson’s defensive effort was stronger than the eight goals it surrendered would indicate.
The Bears capitalized on their superior stamina and scored the majority of their goals off counterattacks.
Leading Harvard’s offense throughout all three games were sophomore twin sisters Tina and Teresa Codini.
“Tina and Teresa work together really well,” Kennifer said.
Though the Crimson’s initial results have left much to be desired, the teams it has played thus far are not necessarily representative of those it will face when it hits the heart of its schedule. Many of the teams Harvard has played so far have been from either the West Coast or abroad, and consequently their levels of preparation have far surpassed that of the Crimson.
With this weekend’s slightly improved results, the Harvard squad believes it has begun to operate in a more unified manner that will ensure better results later in the season.
“This is only one of the first weekends we’ve played [together] as a team,” Kennifer said. “There has been definite improvement in each of our games.”
Still, if the Crimson is to pose a challenge to its rivals in Providence next weekend, much will need to change.
“[It will take] continued hard work in practice,” Tina Codini said. “We have a lot of freshmen who are learning to play ‘East Coast’ water polo.”
The Crimson returns to action next Saturday in the second Brown Invitational.
—Staff writer Timothy J. McGinn can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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