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With less than a minute remaining in the final period, the Harvard women’s water polo team and Claremont-Scripps were level at nine apiece. Despite being the more talented team, the Crimson was struggling for the second straight match to separate from its opponent.
“That weekend we were having a tough time coming out in the first quarter aggressive and focused,” co-captain Tiana Peterson said.
With approximately half a minute remaining, Harvard earned a kickout—a 20-second single player advantage—creating a golden opportunity to take the lead and to put the Athenas away. Sophomore Teresa Codini made certain that chance would not slip away unexploited.
Four meters in front of the goalmouth with just 27 seconds remaining, she hurled the ball past the keeper to take the lead and later the victory.
“You try to pull their defense away from them,” Codini said. “We ran a very good offensive shift. I was down right in front of the goal, and I was in a really good position.”
Codini found herself in such exemplary positions all break long, as she wreaked havoc on goalkeepers of both coasts. At the Claremont Tournament, the sophomore standout erupted, notching a whopping 13 goals—one third of the team’s production during the tournament and more than half her own output for the entire season.
All of this came in just four games.
“I think I was just really happy to be back home because I used to play in that area of California,” Codini said. “Being really happy to be there was reflected in the way I played.”
But it was not merely satisfaction upon returning to her old stomping grounds that elevated the quality of Codini’s play. Rather, greater “awareness” of the opposition’s strategy and a developing capability to adjust have enhanced her effectiveness and made her a more versatile offensive threat.
“I think I’m beginning to learn how to adjust when a team will play off our offensive strengths,” Codini said.
Driving hard against bigger defenders, switched her scoring pace into slow, but she has learned not to play into the hands of schemes used to halt the Crimson offense in its tracks. Instead, Codini reads the defense and adjusts, leading to offensive explosions such as the one at Claremont.
Despite her significant contribution to the team’s success over the spring break West Coast swing, Codini cites the overall team effort as the true source of success and not her own actions.
“I don’t think I’ve been having a very great season,” Codini said. “I don’t think that I can take credit for most things.”
Codini’s fortunes have certainly been looking up as of late, though, with her offensive production skyrocketing as the postseason grows nearer.
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