Women's Water Polo Hosts Three Teams Saturday to Open 2011 Season

Junior Lizzie Abbott and the Crimson open the 2011 season at home with three games Saturday (photo courtesy Gil Talbot).

The Particulars
Harvard begins its 2011 campaign Saturday with three games at Blodgett Pool. Villanova, cross-town rival Boston College and CWPA foe Iona all converge on Cambridge for the season-opener.

vs. Boston College, 10:30a.m.
vs. Iona, Noon
vs. Villanova, 3 p.m.

Series History
Harvard and Boston College have met 10 times in their history as varsity teams, with Harvard winning every single matchup to hold a 10-0 advantage in the series. The last meeting came in 2000, which Harvard won, 14-5.

Harvard has never lost to Iona, but the Gaels have come closer and closer the last four meetings, losing by one goal last season, 15-14. All of the Crimson's victories over Iona have been by four goals or less, and three of its wins have been by just one.

The Crimson leads the all-time series against Villanova, 12-2, and has topped the Wildcats nine straight times dating back to 2000. Harvard has won the last three meetings by a combined score of 32-7. Villanova's only two wins in the series have come by a total of three goals. The teams first met in 1994, with Harvard coming away with a 21-1 victory.

About Harvard
Harvard returns nine players and welcomes five more to a program that earned its second consecutive bid to the Eastern Championship in 2010 and finished with 12 wins. Devan Kennifer, a 2010 honorable mention All-American, returns for her junior season to lead the Crimson in 2011. Kennifer led the team with 67 goals and was a CWPA All-Northern Division first team selection as a sophomore. Classmate Monica Zdrojewski, an All-Northern Division first-team honoree, ranked second on the squad in scoring. Returning sophomore Elise Molnar received All-Northern Division honorable mention after finding the back of the net on 26 occasions last year.

About Boston College
The Eagles went 6-5 in 2010 as a club team. The club was established in 2001 and competes in the CWPA's New England Division.

About Iona
The Gaels return the team's three leading scorers from a year ago in junior Cecelia Leonard, senior Maggie Wood and junior Mackenzie Mone. Leonard earned MAAC Offensive Player of the Year honors a season ago after picking up 142 points on 97 goals and 45 assists. Iona received votes in the first Women's Collegiate Water Polo Top-20 National Poll of the season.

About Villanova
The Wildcats finished 2010 with a 4-23 record and lost their last 12 games of the season. Villanova returns three seniors for 2011 in center Nicole Lum, driver Kathleen Maloney and utility player Maria Apablasa.

Up Next
The Crimson will head to Poughkeepsie, N.Y., Feb. 19-20 for the Marist Tournament, where it will take on the likes of Siena, Boston University, DDO Water Polo Club and host the host Marist Foxes.