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Harvard Women's Water Polo Heads to CWPA Easterns with NCAA Berth Up for Grabs

Elise Molnar and the Crimson will look to reach the NCAA tournament hosted at Blodgett Pool May 10-12 (Justine Agaloos). 

Scene Setter
The Harvard women's water polo team heads to Ann Arbor, Mich., for the Collegiate Water Polo Association Eastern Tournament with a berth in the NCAA Championships on the line. The sixth-seeded Crimson begin the tournament against No. 11 Notre Dame (Ohio) at 12:40 p.m. Friday.

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Watch It Live
The CWPA will offer a video stream on its website for a fee. The cost is $10 per game and $25 for the entire weekend. Fans can click here to access the video portal.

Schedule
Below is a complete schedule of games over the course of the two-day event. The University of Michigan has also created a tournament central page for the event, which can be accessed here.

Friday, April 26

Game 1

10:00 p.m.

No. 8 Bucknell vs.

No. 9 Mercyhurst

Game 2

11:20 p.m.

No. 7 George Washington vs.

No. 10 Gannon

Game 3

12:40 p.m.

No. 6 Harvard vs.

No. 11 Notre Dame (Ohio)

Game 4

2:00 p.m.

No. 5 Brown vs.

No. 12 Connecticut College

Game 5

3:20 p.m.

No. 1 Indiana vs.

Winner Game 1

Game 6

4:40 p.m.

No. 2 Princeton vs.

Winner Game 2

Game 7

6:00 p.m.

No. 3 Hartwick vs.

Winner Game 3

Game 8

7:20 p.m.

No. 4 Michigan vs.

Winner Game 4

Saturday, April 27

Game 9

Noon

Loser Game 1 vs.

Loser Game 4

Game 10

1:30 p.m.

Loser Game 2 vs.

Loser Game 3

Game 11

3:00 p.m.

Loser Game 5 vs.

Loser Game 8

Game 12

4:30 p.m.

Loser Game 6 vs.

Loser Game 7

Game 13

6:00 p.m.

Winner Game 5 vs.

Winner Game 8

Game 14

7:30 p.m.

Winner Game 6 vs.

Winner Game 7

Sunday, April 28

11th place

9:00 a.m.

Loser Game 9 vs.

Loser Game 10

9th place

10:30 a.m.

Winner Game 9 vs.

Winner Game 10

7th place

Noon

Loser Game 11 vs.

Loser Game 12

5th place

1:30 p.m.

Winner Game 11 vs.

Winner Game 12

3rd place

3:00 p.m.

Loser Game 13 vs.

Loser Game 14

1st place

4:30 p.m.

Winner Game 13 vs.

Winner Game 14


Last Time Out

Harvard finished third at the Collegiate Water Polo Association Southern Division Championships to earn the sixth seed at the Eastern Tournament, going 2-1 in the two-day tournament. The Crimson opened the event with a 17-8 win over Mercyhurst behind five goals and four steals from Yoshi Andersen. In the second game, Aisha Price netted four goals, and Ariel Dukes had a career-high five steals, but it wasn't enough as Harvard fell to Brown, 16-12, to drop to the third-place game. The Crimson used a balanced scoring attack to top George Washington, 15-11, to conclude the tournament with seven different women scoring, led by four goals by Shayna Price.

Related Article: Fast Start Carries Women's Water Polo Past George Washington, 15-11, in CWPA Southern Division Third-Place Game
Related Article: Harvard Women's Water Polo Tops Mercyhurst, 17-8, Falls to Brown, 16-12

Last Year at Easterns
The Crimson went 2-2 in last year's Eastern Championships to finish in seventh place at the three-day event. Harvard began the weekend with a 14-4 win over Mercyhurst behind six goals from Devan Kennifer '12. In its second contest, Princeton edged the Crimson, 9-6, in a defensive struggle. Indiana also narrowly slipped past Harvard, prevailing 7-5, to send Harvard into the seventh-place match with Bucknell. The Crimson continued its strong defensive play while the offense kicked back into gear, getting hat tricks from Aisha Price and Shannon Purcell '12, to top the Bison, 11-3.  

About Harvard
Harvard brings a 16-14 overall record into this weekend's CWPA Eastern Championships. Senior co-captain Aisha Price tops the team in goals (73), assists (40) and steals (65), while her sister, Shayna, is second in goals (67), fourth in assists (31) and fifth in steals (32). Freshman Charlotte Hendrix has totaled 65 goals, 39 assists and 49 steals, and fellow class of 2016 member Yoshi Andersen has contributed 55 scores, 39 helpers and 48 thefts in 30 games. Elise Molnar has found the back of the net 30 times and also chipped in 35 takeaways, and Victoria Frager (25) and Kalina Grabb (20) have also reached the 20-goal plateau.  Sophomore Ariel Dukes has played every minute in goal for the Crimson this season, recording 218 saves and 36 steals.

Win Streaking
The Crimson won eight straight contests from Feb. 24 through March 18, which is the longest win streak in program history since water polo became an NCAA sport in 2001. During the span, Harvard outscored its opponents by a 112-56 margin, averaging 14 goals per game.

Racking up the Awards
Harvard has earned nine CWPA weekly awards this season. Ariel Dukes leads the way with three Defensive Player of the Week awards (Feb. 4, March 4, April 8). Aisha Price has been honored twice as Player of the Week (Feb. 4, March 4), while Yoshi Andersen has won Rookie of the Week two times (Feb. 4, April 15). Shayna Price (Player of the Week, March 18) and Charlotte Hendrix (Rookie of the Week, April 8) have also earned individual honors.

About Notre Dame (Ohio) (Team Page)
After hovering near .500 at the midway point of the season, the Falcons have dropped their last eight contests to sit at 5-14 overall. Notre Dame has struggled offensively this season, reaching double figures in scoring just six times in 19 games for a 7.7 goals per game average. Additionally, opponents are scoring at a rate of 12.1 each contest.

Series History Against the Falcons
It will be the first meeting between the two programs.

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

Up Next
The winner of the CWPA Eastern Championships will earn an automatic berth into the NCAA Championships, which will be held at Blodgett Pool May 10-12.