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IN DIVISION I ATHLETICS

 

Harvard Home Kick Off Begins Season for Women's Water Polo Saturday

Elise Molnar is one of two senior captains on the team this year (Gil Talbot). 

Scene Setter
The Harvard women's water polo team opens up its 2013 season with the Harvard Home Kick Off, facing Iona, Villanova and CAMO Saturday at Blodgett Pool.

About Harvard
The Crimson returns nine players from last year's team that finished 17-12 overall and 4-1 in the CWPA Southern Division.  Aisha Price, who finished second on the team in goals (65) and third in steals (54) in 2012, anchors the returnees. Her sister, Shayna, finished fourth on the team in goals (40) and second in steals (63). On defense, sophomore Ariel Dukes will be in goal after making 193 saves in her inaugural campaign, and Elise Molnar is the top two-meter defender on the squad, contributing 21 goals, 16 assists and 40 steals a season ago.

Related Video: Season Preview 


Tournament Schedule – Feb. 2, 2013

8:00 AM

Harvard

vs.

Iona

9:15 AM

Villanova

vs.

CAMO

11:30 AM

Iona

vs.

CAMO

12:45 PM

Harvard

vs.

Villanova

2:45 PM

Iona

vs.

Villanova

4:00 PM

Harvard

vs.

CAMO

5:15 PM

Iona

vs.

Boston University

Iona (Team Page)
The Gaels advanced to the NCAA Tournament last season and finished seventh at the event, edging Pomona-Pitzer, 12-8, in overtime. Junior Amy Olsen leads the returnees, leading the team in scoring (83) and finishing second in points (98) last season. Alyssa Turza (65 goals) and Erika Lauraitis (57 goals) are also back on the offense side, while primary goaltender Marisa Gaynor is back in net after making 251 saves a season ago.

Series History Against The Gaels
Harvard leads the all-time series against Iona, 10-3. However, the last four goals in the series have all been decided by one goal, including all three of last year's meetings. Iona won the first matchup, 15-14, Feb. 4 before Harvard evened up the season series with a 14-13 win Feb. 26. The two squads met again one week later, and Iona prevailed 12-11 to take the season series.

Villanova (Team Page)
The Wildcats advanced to the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference Tournament for the first since 2011 last season after going 4-8 in conference play and 8-20 overall. Leading scorer Julia Penkal, who had 33 goals in 2012, is back for her senior season, Sophomore Callan Edwards also returns after netting 32 goals in her inaugural collegiate campaign, while Maddi Moore will return in goal.

Series History Against The Wildcats
After winning all three games last year, Harvard has won 16 of the 18 games played between the two schools. The Crimson bested the Wildcats 13-1 on Feb. 4, 14-3 on Feb. 12 and 15-1 on Feb. 24 to run its win streak to 13 straight games against Villanova. 

Senior Leadership
Harvard's two seniors – Aisha Price and Elise Molnar – will serve as this year's team captains.  Price, who was also a member of the women's soccer squad, has been a three-year starter and was the Crimson's Rookie of the Year in 2010, while Molnar was named to the CWPA Northern Division second team as a freshman and the CWPA Southern Division second team as a junior.

Meet the Freshmen
Harvard brings in a trio of freshman for the 2013 season. Attackers Yoshi Andersen, Rachel Lobato and Charlotte Hendrix form the class of 2016. Andersen was the MVP of the UANA Junior Pan American Championships, helping the Women's Junior National Team win the gold medal after tallying 14 goals in seven games at the event. Lobato led the California Interscholastic Federation in goals last year with 125 and holds the CIF career record for goals, and Hendrix was a two-time All-American and a member of the USA Water Polo Olympic Development Team for three years.

Related Article: Three Recruits Highlight Women's Water Polo Class of 2016
Related Article: Yoshi Andersen Named MVP of UANA Junior Pan American Championships 

Gracious Host
Blodgett Pool will serve as the host site for the 2013 NCAA Division I Women's Water Polo National Championship May 10-12. It is the first time that Harvard will hold the event and only the second time it has been held on the East Coast. The last – and only other time - the event was held on the shores of the Atlantic was in 2009 when it was in Maryland.

Related Link: Harvard to Host 2013 NCAA Women's Water Polo Championship at Blodgett Pool

Head Coach Ted Minnis
Head coach Ted Minnis enters his third year with the program after guiding the Crimson to back-to-back 17-win seasons. Harvard went 17-15 in his inaugural season, placing sixth at Easterns, before finishing seventh at Easterns and going 17-12 on the year. 

Next Up
Harvard visits New Jersey to take on California, NYAC, Princeton and Siena in the Princeton Invitational Feb. 9 and 10.