Harvard Resumes Play, Suffers Tough Pair of Defeats

Jessica S. Lin

The Crimson failed to pick up a win this weekend, losing 16-10 to Hartwick before falling 17-16 to NYAC on Saturday. But sophomore Patricia Smith did her best to keep Harvard in the game, especially in the second contest against NYAC, in which she scored

After taking last weekend off, the women’s water polo team traveled to Oneonta, N.Y. for its opening conference game of the season and an exhibition match-up. Despite a dominating performance from co-captain Devon MacLaughlin, who registered a total of seven goals on the day, the squad lost to both No. 13 Hartwick (14-6, 1-0 CWPA) and the New York Athletic Club (NYAC) on Saturday.

The Crimson (4-6, 0-1 CWPA) dropped a shootout to NYAC, losing 17-16 in the non-NCAA match. Earlier in the day, Harvard could not prevent the Hawks’ offensive attack, suffering a 16-10 loss.

“I feel like we have some things that we need to work on as a team as to how we handle adversity,” MacLaughlin said.

The Crimson was missing freshman center and offensive contributor Devan Kennifer, who was nursing a sore elbow. Without Kennifer in the pool, MacLaughlin found herself tasked with the challenge of filling the void left by her fellow center.

“[MacLaughlin] is a competitor,” Harvard coach Erik Farrar said. “There’s no quit in the woman.”

Next week, the Crimson will visit the west coast for a six-game trip, including a match-up against No. 1 Stanford. Harvard returns home to Blodgett Pool on April 4. The team will have a chance for revenge against Hartwick, followed by a match-up against Brown.

“I’m excited to see how we come out against the number one team in the country,” MacLaughlin said.


Last month, the Crimson split its two games against NYAC. On Saturday, 32 minutes was not enough to settle the rubber match, and the teams entered a shootout where Harvard could not pull out a victory.

“It was definitely not one of our best games,” MacLaughlin said. “We can play much better than that.”

Freshman Laurel McCarthy played between the pipes and recorded eight saves.

Impressively, the first-year was able to stop a five-meter attempt in regulation as well as one attempt in the shootout, which took place instead of an overtime period, since the game was not under NCAA regulations.

NYAC converted four out of five attempts, while the Crimson only successfully scored three.

Sophomore Patricia Smith scored a team-high four goals in the game to go along with her three steals. Freshman Shannon Purcell and MacLaughlin each recorded a hat trick in the high-scoring affair. MacLaughlin also drew two ejections. Freshman Ita Barton-Kettleborough scored twice, and junior Kelly Peeler found the net once.


The Crimson seniors on the team entered the game looking for their first victory over the conference powerhouse, as the squad has gone 0-15 against the Hawks since 2004.

“Hartwick has been the perennial Northern Division champion, so obviously you want to stick a pin in their balloon,” Farrar said.

After giving up six goals to Hartwick in the first eight minutes, the Crimson tried to play catch-up for the remainder of the game.

“We didn’t defend the shallow end effectively in the first quarter, and that put us in a hole that we never really were able to dig ourselves out of,” Farrar said.

The squad cut the lead to 8-5 in the second quarter. The teams traded three goals apiece before the Hawks went on a 5-2 run to end the game.

“We just couldn’t quite close the gap,” Farrar said. “You cannot allow botched counterattacks to result in an easy goal the other way. The Hartwick players are experienced, very good opportunists, and they’re going to make you pay.”

Harvard had several chances to cut the lead but could not capitalize, and instead gave the opposition plenty of opportunities in transition.

Many of those breaks—although botched—were generated by freshman Lizzie Abbott and junior Kristina Bergquist, who drew a combined five ejections to create 6-on-5 situations.

“We need to work on our 6-on-5s,” MacLaughlin said.

The nine saves by co-captain Nicola Perlman, a former Crimson magazine chair, were not sufficient to contain the Hawks’ shooting front.

Attempting to keep up with Hartwick’s offensive pace, McLaughlin tossed out four goals, while junior Roxanne Pinto and freshman Monica Zdrojewski netted two apiece. Peeler and Barton-Kettleborough each contributed with a goal.