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Purcell Gives Women's Water Polo OT Win over No. 20 Hartwick on Senior Day

The Harvard women's water polo team honored its seniors before beating No. 20 Hartwick Tuesday night (photo Harvard Athletic Communications).

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. –
Senior Shannon Purcell scored the winning goal with 44 seconds left in overtime to propel Harvard to a 12-11 win over No. 20 Hartwick on Senior Day Tuesday night. Purcell, who had two goals, an assist and four steals in the game, was honored in a pregame ceremony alongside classmates Lizzie Abbott, Devan Kennifer and Monica Zdrojewski.


The win over Hartwick was Harvard's first in the last 27 meetings between the two schools dating back to 2001.

Hartwick was the first to get on the board in the contest, a score from Allison Kosic, before Harvard quickly answered to make it 1-1. Aisha Price scored on an assist from Abbott, but it would be the Crimson's only score of the frame. Hartwick scored two more times in the opening quarter, including once on a penalty shot, to gain a 3-1 advantage.

Harvard opened the second period strong, as Elise Molnar skipped in a shot to the left side of the goal just 20 seconds into the frame. Another goal from A. Price tied the score at three, before the two teams traded a pair of goals over the next two minutes. Harvard registered scores from Molnar and Purcell to keep pace with Hartwick at 5-5 with 2:19 remaining in the second. Hartwick then found the back of the cage at the 1:43 and 0:20 marks to take a 7-5 lead into halftime.

In the third, Harvard found itself in a four-goal hole as Hartwick tallied the first two scores of the frame. After a pair of scoreless possessions, the Crimson was able to get back in the game with three consecutive goals. Molnar scored under the arm of Hartwick's outstretched goalie, before Shayna Price found her sister, A. Price, for a goal at 4:16 and then netted a goal of her own from the top of the offensive set with 3:29 remaining in the third quarter.

Hartwick scored the next two goals to get back to a three-goal advantage, 11-8, entering the fourth quarter.

With a contingent of Harvard fans urging on a comeback, the Crimson started a rally with solid defensive play and a goal from A. Price one minute into the stanza. Harvard's pressure continued through the next six minutes, and S. Price added a goal with 3:04 showing on the clock to get within one.

Harvard had two chances to tie, split up by a big block from goalie Ariel Dukes with 1:40 remaining, but couldn't even the score before retaining possession with under a minute left in regulation. A pass to the middle was fumbled between Hartwick players and Harvard's Kennifer, before the Crimson senior hooked a shot over the Hawk's goalie to even the score. With just 33 seconds left in the fourth, Hartwick was unable to get a shot off.

Harvard's defensive dominance continued into overtime, as the team's played a scoreless first overtime of two scheduled extra frames. The period was highlighted by Zdrojewski knocking away a spinning ball off of the goal line that had sailed over Dukes' head on a breakaway.

In the second overtime, Hartwick and Harvard traded possessions and shots before Purcell netted the winner with 44 seconds left. The lefty caught a cross-pool pass on the right side of the offensive set and fired into an empty net, as Hartwicks goalie scrambled to get back into position.

The Crimson will take its four-game winning streak to the CWPA Southern Division tournament, hosted by Bucknell, April 14-15.

Hartwick, 12-11 Win (OT)
Goals

Aisha Price 4
Shannon Purcell 2
Devan Kennifer
Elise Molnar 3
Shayna Price 2

Assists
Lizzie Abbott
Shannon Purcell
Devan Kennifer 2
Elise Molnar
Monica Zdrojewski 4
Shayna Price 2

Steals
Aisha Price 3
Lizzie Abbott
Shannon Purcell 4
Devan Kennifer 8
Elise Molnar 2
Monica Zdrojewski 3
Shayna Price

Saves
Ariel Dukes 8