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Women's Water Polo Heads to California for Eight Games in Seven Days

The Crimson will play six ranked teams during its trip to California (Justine Agaloos). 

Scene Setter
The Harvard women's water polo team makes its annual trip to the west coast for eight games in seven days during spring break. The Crimson will face Santa Clara, Occidental, Fresno Pacific, UC Davis, Pacific, San Jose State, Stanford and California during the seven-day trip.

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Last Time Out
Harvard ran its win streak to five straight games with a weekend sweep of three games in Erie, Pa. The Crimson began College Water Polo Association Southern Division play March 1 against Mercyhurst and topped the Lakers, 11-3, behind a dominant performance in net by Ariel Dukes, who did not allow a goal in the first half. Senior co-captains Elise Molnar and Aisha Price paced the offense, as both recorded hat tricks in the win. Price followed up her performance with five scores, as the Crimson pulled away in the fourth quarter to knock off Bucknell, 13-9, to go to 2-0 in conference play. In the weekend finale, Harvard slipped past Gannon, 10-5, behind a second straight fourth-quarter surge. Freshman Charlotte Hendrix netted four goals and an assist in the victory.

Related Article: Women's Water Polo Tops Gannon, 10-5, to Run Win Streak to Five
Related Article: Defense Lifts Women's Water Polo to Wins over Mercyhurst, Bucknell

About Harvard
Through 14 games this season, Harvard is led by a pair of freshmen and a pair of sisters. Class of 2016 member Charlotte Hendrix tops the squad in goals (40) and ranks second in steals (26). Classmate Yoshi Andersen is third on the squad in goals (34), second in assists (23) and third in steals (24). Senior co-captain Aisha Price paces the team in assists (24) and steals (34) and is second in goals (37), while her sister, Shayna, is fourth on the club with 25 goals and 20 steals.

Fast Start
Harvard is off to its best start to a season through 14 games since 2003-04 when the Crimson also started 10-4. Overall, it is the eighth best mark for the Crimson to begin a season. Harvard's best beginning to a season came in 1988-1989 when the Crimson began the year 18-0 before finishing 19-2.

Twice is Nice
For the second time this season, sophomore goalkeeper Ariel Dukes was named the Collegiate Water Polo Association Southern Division Defensive Player of the Week March 4. In helping the Crimson go 3-0, Dukes made 29 saves and recorded six steals against Mercyhurst, Bucknell and Gannon. The Winter Park, Fla., native also won the award Feb. 4 and has now won a total of six CWPA weekly awards during her career (four defensive player of the week awards and two rookie of the week honors).

Overall, Harvard has won five awards this season, as Aisha Price has claimed two player of the week nods, and Yoshi Andersen earned a rookie of the week award.

Related Article: Ariel Dukes Earns Second CWPA Southern Division Defensive Player of the Week Award

Win Streaking
The Crimson has rattled off five consecutive wins before its trip to the Golden State and has outscored its opponents 74-33 during the span. Harvard is averaging 14.8 goals per game and allowing just 6.6 per contest. Sophomore Ariel Dukes is making 11.2 saves per game, while Charlotte Hendrix (17 goals) and Aisha Price (15 goals) have paced the offense.

About the Opponents

Harvard will take on eight different opponents during its trip to California, including six ranked foes. The Crimson will face Division III No. 5 Occidental on the opening day of the trip before concluding it with five consecutive games against ranked Division I teams. No. 16 UC Davis, No. 19 Pacific, No. 10 San Jose State, No. 2 Stanford and No. 5 California are also on the slate of games. The Cardinal, who features three members of the United States Olympic team and has won the last two national titles, appears to be the toughest team on the slate, while the Golden Bears and Spartans will also pose challenges as top five teams.

Schedule of Games
Below is Harvard's schedule of games for the eight-day trip.

Date

Opponent

Time (EST)

March 17

at Santa Clara

12:30 p.m.

March 17

vs. Occidental at Santa Clara

3:00 p.m.

March 18

vs. Fresno Pacific at UC Davis

3:00 p.m.

March 18

at UC Davis

10:00 p.m.

March 19

at Pacific

9:00 p.m.

March 21

at San Jose State

7:00 p.m.

March 22

at Stanford

10:00 p.m.

March 23

at California

4:00 p.m.

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
Harvard plays its final scheduled home game of the season against Brown April 3 at 7 p.m.