Victory at Easterns Highlights 2009 Season for Up-and-Coming Crimson

Victory at Easterns Highlights 2009 Season for Up-and-Coming Crimson

A seventh-place showing at the Eastern Championship and several all-league honors helped put a successful ending to the 2009 Harvard women's water polo season. Head coach Erik Farrar and his squad completed the campaign with a 12-16 overall record, including a fourth-place finish in the CWPA Northern Division regular season with a 3-4 record.

Freshman Devan Kennifer was tabbed Northern Division Rookie of the Year and earned a spot on the All-Northern Division first team after leading the squad with 76 goals for the season. Classmate Monica Zdrojewski was named to the second team after scoring 32 goals on the season. Kennifer was also named the Rookie of the Tournament at the Eastern Championship and earned a spot on the tournament second team.

Kennifer, Zdrojewski and freshman Ita Barton-Kettleborough were each named rookie of the week once during the season, while Kennifer earned player of the week honors after tallying a career-high 10 goals in one game.

The Season
Harvard began its season by hosting the Harvard Invitational Feb. 14-15 at Blodgett Pool. The Crimson opened with a 10-6 win over the New York Athletic Club (NYAC), followed by a 13-2 loss to No. 8 Michigan. Senior co-captain Nicola Perlman made 14 saves against NYAC, while Kennifer had five goals and five steals in her collegiate debut.

The next day, Harvard fell to NYAC, 12-10, and defeated Siena, 11-4. Zdrojewski netted three in the first game, while Kennifer had four scores against the Saints. Freshman Laurel McCarthy made six saves in her collegiate debut against NYAC. Kennifer, who tallied 10 goals all together on the weekend, was named CWPA Northern Division Co-Rookie of the Week March 16.

The next weekend, Harvard competed at the Princeton Invitational Feb. 21-22. The Crimson again split its games, defeating Villanova, 11-2, but falling to the host Tigers, 10-8, on the first day, followed by a 14-4 win over George Washington and a 14-13 loss to Bucknell on Day 2. Kennifer and Barton-Kettleborough tallied four goals against Villanova and Princeton, respectively, while Kennifer had two hat tricks the next day. Barton-Kettleborough earned rookie of the week honors Feb. 24 after scoring 11 goals in the four games.

The Crimson continued tournament play at the Elite 6 Tournament at Bucknell Feb. 28-March 1, as the team fell to No. 20 Maryland, 11-7, and knocked off the Bison, 11-9, the first day, then concluded the weekend with a 13-6 loss at the hands of Princeton. Kennifer and freshman Shannon Purcell had four goals against the Bison, while Kennifer scored four more against the Terps.

After getting a two-week break from competition, Harvard played a pair of games in Oneonta, N.Y., falling to both No. 13 Hartwick, 16-10, and NYAC, 17-16, March 14. Senior co-captain Devon MacLaughlin scored seven goals over the two contests.

From there it was on to California for the team's spring break trip, where Harvard ran into No. 1 Stanford and suffered a 20-2 loss March 21. The team rebounded the next day by defeating Sonoma State, 8-7, as Perlman made 11 saves for the win. Kennifer then scored four goals March 24 against Pacific, but it was not enough in a 7-6 defeat.

The Crimson continued Golden State play March 26 with a 12-8 win against UC Santa Cruz and a 5-3 loss to No. 11 UC Davis. Kennifer tallied six scores in the win, while Perlman made nine saves in a losing effort. Harvard, though, played one of its best games of the year to close out the trip, a 17-10 win against Cal State Monterey Bay. Kennifer, playing against her hometown school, put 10 in net for the Crimson, and after scoring 22 in four games was tabbed Northern Division Player of the Week and Harvard COOP Student-Athlete of the Week March 30.

A week later on April 4, Harvard hosted No. 12 Hartwick and Brown, the team's first contests at home in a month and a half. The Crimson, though, came up on the short end, 16-6, against Hartwick and 11-10 against the Bears. Kennifer had five against Brown and eight all together on the day.

The Crimson turned around and played Utica and Connecticut College the next day on the road in New London, Conn., winning, 19-2, over Utica and then 23-4 over Connecticut College. Sophomores Patricia Smith, Shami Entenman and Natasha Whitney each posted hat tricks in the first contest, while Zdrojewski (five goals) and MacLaughlin, Kennifer and Barton-Kettleborough (three goals each) all had three or more goals the next game.

Harvard then wrapped up the regular season with a 7-6 loss to No. 19 Brown April 11 at Wheaton College. Zdrojewski's hat trick led the way for Harvard, earning her the season's third rookie of the week honor April 13.

Heading back to New London for the Northern Division Championship April 18-19, Harvard played No. 15 Hartwick and No. 19 Brown for the third time this season, falling to the Hawks, 12-8, and the Bears, 8-7. Perlman made a combined 21 saves in the two games.

The Crimson got back on the winning track the second day of the tournament, earning wins over Connecticut College, 18-4, and Utica, 20-2, to finish third at the event. Barton-Kettleborough scored four times in the first game, while Smith recorded a hat trick. Kennifer then found the back of the net four times against Utica, while Bergquist, Barton-Kettleborough and junior Kelly Peeler each had hat tricks.

After earning the eighth seed at the Eastern Championship April 24-26 at Blodgett Pool, Harvard began the tournament with a 16-3 loss to No. 14 Hartwick in the fourth match of the season between the two squads. That was followed by a 9-7 loss to No. 16 Indiana April 25, as Perlman made 10 saves. The loss was the 11th against a ranked opponent on the season for the Crimson and the 10th by two or fewer goals.

Harvard then wrapped up the championship and its season with a 9-8 win over Bucknell April 26 in the seventh-place match, as Smith tallied a hat trick in the Crimson's first win in the Eastern Championship since the 2005 season.

Next Season
Perlman and MacLaughlin will depart the Crimson and hand off senior leadership duties to Peeler, Kristina Bergquist and Roxanne Pinto. Entenman, Smith and Whitney will look to build of their second seasons in the pool, while Kennifer, Barton-Kettleborough, McCarthy, Purcell, Zdrojewski and Lizzie Abbott will each look to improve after a very successful first year.