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Crimson Dominates Pool Play

By Patrick Galvin, Crimson Staff Writer

When the women’s water polo team scored 60 goals across its three opening games at Blodgett Pool on Saturday, the Harvard squad gave a huge glimpse of the firepower in store for this season.

“We saw every game as an individual game and went hard and didn’t try to save our energy,” freshman attacker Shayna Price said. “We just went hard all day.”

The Crimson dominated its opening day with a solid defense and pure speed. Within less than seven hours, Harvard routed Boston College, 23-2, Iona, 17-7, and Villanova, 20-5.

“It’s a good way to start,” Crimson coach Ted Minnis said. “These are hopefully the worst games we play all year—we’re going to keep getting better as we go on.”

HARVARD 20, VILLANOVA 5

From the starting whistle, Harvard came out strong, putting up eight goals on the board before Villanova finally snuck one past senior goaltender Shami Entenman at the end of the first.

Against the Wildcats, the Crimson looked as if it were coasting through just another practice in Blodgett. Possessions in the first half averaged only a few seconds and usually ended with a Harvard goal.

With six minutes left in the opening half, sophomore two-meter defender Elise Molnar went untouched by the defense as she slowly wound up from the five-meter mark and placed the ball in the upper right corner of Villanova’s net.

On the following Crimson possession, freshman attacker Riley Kessler stole the ball and tossed it down the pool to classmate Christy DiSilvestro, who drew an ejection and skipped the shot right under the arms of the Wildcat’s goalie.

“What I think is amazing about our team this year in comparison to last year is that not only do we have a new coach who has a system that we’re supposed to be running, but we were able to pick it up so quickly,” said junior attacker Monica Zdrojewski, who notched five goals against Villanova.

With the second half came the second string, and even the reserves outplayed the Wildcat’s starting lineup, allowing only a single goal to slip in the final seconds of the game.

HARVARD 17, IONA 7

Iona matched Harvard goal-for-goal in the first quarter of the Crimson’s second game of the day. The first period ended 4-3 in Harvard’s favor and proved to be the Crimson’s greatest—if not only—challenge of the weekend.

“We just really buckled down on the defensive end,” said Minnis. “I told the girls, ‘If it’s not going our way, then get a stop and then go and try to get a goal. If we don’t get a goal, we’re still going to try and comeback and get a stop.’”

Three of the Gaels’ leading scorers returned for the 2011 season, including junior Cecilia Leonard who scored 97 goals last season. But even she proved to be no match for Harvard’s defense, which limited her and her cohorts to seven goals.

“They have some very strong players, but we recognized that and were able to meet that defensively and shut them down,” Zdrojewski said.

HARVARD 23, BOSTON COLLEGE 2

The Crimson kick-started its weekend and season with quite the confidence boost Saturday morning by pelting 23 goals into the back of their cross-town rival’s net.

Sophomore Aisha Price led the charge by scoring two times as many goals on her own than the whole Eagles roster could in the 32 minutes of the contest. Her younger sister, Shayna, contributed two goals and led the team in steals.

“I don’t think you can ever expect this kind of performance on the first day,” Minnis said. “I’m really happy with the girls…and I’m pleasantly surprised by the way they played.”

—Staff writer Patrick Galvin can be reached at pgalvin@college.harvard.edu.

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Women's Water Polo