CWPA Eastern Championship in Indiana is Next Stop for Harvard Women's Water Polo
The season all boils down to this weekend, as the Harvard women's water polo team travels to Bloomington, Ind., for the Collegiate Water Polo Association Women's Eastern Championship. The Crimson enters the 11-team tournament as the No. 6 seed.
2010 Eastern Championship
Harvard finished eighth in last year's championship tournament with three losses. The final two losses came by two goals and one goal to Bucknell and Maryland, respectively. The highest finish for the Crimson at a CWPA Eastern Championship is second on two occassions, in 1988 and 1990.
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A free video stream will also be available for the tournament.
The Crimson (15-13, 2-2 CWPA) finished the regular season third in the CWPA Southern Division standings behind Maryland and Princeton. The Crimson is led by junior co-captain Devan Kennifer's 69 goals this season. Classmate Shannon Purcell drives the offense with a team-leading 43 assists, and Kennifer's 70 steals are tops for Harvard this year.
|9 a.m.||Game 1||No. 8 George Washington vs. No. 9 Mercyhurst|
|10:20 a.m.||Game 2||No. 7 Brown vs. No. 10 Bucknell|
|11:40 a.m.||Game 3||No. 6 Harvard vs. No. 11 Gannon|
|3 p.m.||Game 4||No. 4 Maryland vs. No. 5 Princeton|
|4:30 p.m.||Game 5||No. 1 Michigan vs. Winner of Game 1|
|6 p.m.||Game 6||No. 2 Hartwick vs. Winner of Game 2|
|7:30 p.m.||Game 7||No. 3 Indiana vs. Winner of Game 3|
|Noon||Game 8||Loser of Game 2 vs. Loser of Game 3|
|1:20 p.m.||Game 9
||Loser of Game 4 vs. Loser of Game 5|
|2:40 p.m.||Game 10
||Loser of Game 7 vs. Loser of Game 6|
|4 p.m.||Game 11
||Winner of Game 5 vs. Winner of Game 4|
|5:20 p.m.||Game 12
||Winner of Game 6 vs. Winner of Game 7|
|6:40 p.m.||Game 13
||Loser of Game 1 vs. Loser of Game 3|
|9 a.m.||Game 14||Loser of Game 1 vs. Loser of Game 2|
|10:30 a.m.||7th Place||Loser of Game 10 vs. Loser of Game 9|
|Noon||5th Place||Winner of Game 9 vs. Winner of Game 10|
|1:30 p.m.||3th Place||Loser of Game 12 vs. Loser of Game 11|
|3 p.m.||1st Place||Winner of Game 11 vs. Winner of Game 12|
Last Time Out
After trailing for most of the first half, the Harvard women's water polo team scored seven unanswered goals in the third period and outscored Brown 10-4 in the second half to defeat the Bears, 16-12, in its regular season finale April 20.
Setting The Mark
Harvard's 16-12 win over Brown April 20 gave the Crimson its 15th win this season, matching its highest win total in the last six years. The Crimson finished 15-18 in 2006, and could top that mark with two wins in its final four regular season contests. The program record for wins in a season is 20, reached twice in 2000 and 2004.
Streaking Scoring and Steals
Devan Kennifer is currently on a 12-game scoring streak dating to the Crimson's March 18 game at Cal State East Bay. Sophomore Aisha Price has grabbed a steal in seven straight games, going back to Harvard's CWPA Southern Division game against Princeton April 9.
The Crimson has received two CWPA Player of the Week awards [Monica Zdrojewski (2)], three CWPA Defensive Player of the Week nods (Laurel McCarthy, Shayna Price, Devan Kennifer) and a CWPA Rookie of the Week recognition (Christy DiSilvestro) this season for a total of six awards. Zdrojewski was most recently recognized as co-CWPA Southern Division Player of the Week for her efforts against Brown April 20.
Elise Molnar, Aisha Price and Shannon Purcell have posted the best all-around numbers for Harvard so far as the only players with at least 20 goals, assists and steals this season. Purcell has recorded 22 scores, leads the team with 43 assists and has grabbed 27 takeaways. Price is third on the team with 49 tallies, has dished 21 assists and has 46 steals on the year. Molnar has 29 goals, 22 helpers and is third on the team with 41 takeaways.
Unbeaten at Blodgett
With a doubleheader sweep April 2, Harvard finished the 2011 season a perfect 7-0 at Blodgett Pool. The Crimson outscored visiting opponents, 119-41, reached double-digits in scoring each home game and only allowed 10 or more goals once, as Marist notched 12 scores in a double-overtime loss to Harvard.
This spring's freshman class has made quite a splash for Harvard this year, making significant contributions on both ends of the pool in the players' first collegiate season. Jelena Cyr, Christy DiSilvestro, Riley Kessler, Shayna Price and Jamie Williams have totaled 52 goals, 34 assists and 66 steals as a quintet, amounting to 16 percent of the Crimson's scoring this season, 22 percent of the team's takeaways and 20 percent of Harvard's assists.
Double The Fun
Harvard's offense has been lighting up the scoreboard all season long, totaling 330 goals as a team and reaching double digits in scoring 17 times. The Crimson is 7-1 in games decided by 10 goals or more.
The Crimson has upped its defensive effort this season, holding its opponent under 10 goals for the 12 times this spring. Harvard is 11-1 when holding opponents to nine goals or less this season.
On three different occasions this season, the Crimson has received votes in the CWPA Top-20 poll, most recently in the March 16 poll as the team was in the midst of its seven-game West Coast swing.
The winner of the Eastern Championship receives the CWPA's automatic bid to play in the NCAA Championship May 13-15 in Ann Arbor, Mich.