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Season Recap: Youth Proves to be Driving Force for Women’s Water Polo

Photo courtesy of Gil Talbot Photography.

Harvard began the season on a tear, winning its first six games of the year.  The Crimson opened the campaign with four wins in two days. At the Harvard Invitational, Feb. 6-7, the team cruised past Villanova, 16-2, and defeated Siena, 15-9, to kick off 2010. The following day, the Crimson downed the New York Athletic Club, 10-8, and Iona, 11-8.

The Crimson extended its winning streak with a 15-14 victory over Iona and a 10-8 overtime win against Wagner at the Princeton Invitational, Feb. 20. Harvard suffered its first loss of the season to No. 5 Michigan before rebounding to pick up a 10-5 win over George Washington, Feb. 21.

Harvard returned to Princeton, N.J., to compete at the ECAC Championships, Feb. 27-28. The Crimson posted a 1-2 record at the tournament, falling to Marist and Bucknell and defeating Wagner.

Competing at the prestigious Elite Eight tournament, Harvard picked up a win but was tagged with two losses. In the opening day of competition, March 6, Harvard fell to Maryland and Indiana. The Crimson closed out the weekend with a thrilling 13-12 overtime victory over Bucknell, March 7.

The team then headed to California for its annual west coast trip, March 15-20. The swing through the Golden State included six games against some of the top teams in the nation. Harvard went 3-3 in the week. The Crimson opened the trip with a 7-4 win over Fresno Pacific before suffering a 12-4 loss to No. 15 UC-Davis, March 15. Harvard fell to No. 7 San Jose St. March 17, 13-7, before claiming its first win over a ranked opponent. The Crimson defeated No. 19 Cal-State East Bay, 15-11, March 19. The final day of games saw Harvard lose to No. 17 Pacific and earn a win over Cal-State Monterey Bay, March 20.

The Crimson played one last tune-up match, March 27, before kicking off the CWPA Northern Division portion of the schedule. Harvard fell to Marist, 10-8, to close out the non-conference slate with an 11-9 record.

Harvard opened up Northern Division play April 10 with a tough 15-8 road loss to No. 11 Hartwick. The Crimson quickly leveled its league record with a 7-6 overtime victory over Brown, April 14. Losses to the Hawks and Bears closed out the regular season for Harvard. The team owned a 12-12 overall mark and went 1-3 in the CWPA Northern Division.

The Crimson earned its second consecutive bid to the Eastern Championship, April 30-May 2, as it was awarded an at-large berth to the field by the selection committee. Harvard dropped all three contests at the tournament to end the season with a 12-15 record.

Sophomore Devan Kennifer led the team with 67 goals and was an All-Northern Division first team selection. She was also tabbed to the Eastern Championship All-Tournament second team. Classmate Monica Zdrojewski, an All-Northern Division first team honoree, ranked second on the squad in scoring with 34 tallies. Sophomore Ita Barton-Kettleborough was right behind with 33 scores while freshman Aisha Price netted 31 goals. Rookie Elise Molnar received All-Northern Division honorable mention after finding the back of the net on 26 occasions.

Between the posts, Laurel McCarthy saw most of the action as she blocked 158 shots on the season. The sophomore netminder owned a 9.07 goals-against average. Junior Shami Entenman made just three appearances at the goalie position, making eight saves on the year. Entenman made her first collegiate start between the pipes in the final game of the season against Maryland at the Eastern Championship, May 2.