Women's Water Polo Prepares for Four Contests at Princeton Invitational

Women's Water Polo Prepares for Four Contests at Princeton Invitational

Aisha Price scored three goals in each of the Crimson's first two games (photo courtesy Gil Talbot).

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – The Crimson will begin a stretch of seven games in Princeton, N.J. with the Princeton Invitational Feb. 11-12. Harvard faces Bucknell and No. 20 Princeton during the first day of action, before finishing the invite with Villanova and Colorado State.

The Crimson (1-1) is led by senior co-captain Devan Kennifer and junior Aisha Price, who each tallied hat tricks at last week's Iona Invitational. Kennifer, a returning first-team All-Southern Division honoree, led Harvard in scoring (76 g) and steals (81) a year ago. The Crimson has brought back 99% (329-of-332) of its goal scoring from last season, including its top three in Kennifer, Monica Zdrojewski (60 g) and Aisha Price (54 g).

Last Time Out
The Crimson found itself down early against Iona in the opener before storming back with six fourth-quarter goals, but ultimately fell, 15-14, to the host Gaels. In the second match of the day, Harvard easily got past Villanova, 13-1, to exit the invite with a 1-1 mark. Devan Kennifer led the Crimson with nine goals and seven steals, while Aisha Price added six goals and four assists. Freshmen Ariel Dukes and Jasmine Griffin split time in goal, as Dukes registered seven saves against Iona and Griffin stopped nine shots versus Villanova.

Weekly Awards
A trio of Harvard women's water polo players took home Collegiate Water Polo Association (CWPA) Southern Division awards this week. Devan Kennifer was named the Player of the Week, while Monica Zdrojewski and Victoria Frager were chosen as the Defensive Player of the Week and Rookie of the Week, respectively.

The Bison (0-0) opens its season with Harvard Feb. 11 at 9 a.m. Bucknell returns its top two goal scorers from 2010-11, when the Bison went 13-18 overall. Senior Hallie Kennan led Bucknell with 55 goals to go along with 32 assists last season, while Julianne Valdes added 47 scores and 38 helpers.

After tying the first ever meeting between Harvard and Bucknell in 1986, the Bison have gone on to win 16-of-29 meetings in the series history. 

No. 20 Princeton
The Tigers (0-0) are also beginning its season against Harvard. Princeton, which finished 2010-11 with a 20-11 record and in fifth place at last year's CWPA Eastern Championship, returns first-team All-Southern Division honorees Katie Rigler and Brittany Zwirner. Rigler led the Tigers with 56 goals during her freshman campaign and Zwirner had a team-high 52 steals along with 36 goals and 22 assists.

Princeton has won the last 10 meetings with Harvard and leads the all-time series 26-1, dating back to 1984.

Sunday's contest between the Crimson and Wildcats will be the second matchup of the season between the two squads, as Harvard controlled Villanova, 13-1, at the Iona Invitational Feb. 4. The Crimson benefited from a balanced scoring attack which featured eight Crimson players finding the back of the cage, including four with multiple goals. Aisha Price scored three times, while Kennifer, Victoria Frager and Shayna Price contributed two goals apiece.

Harvard leads the all-time series against Villanova, 14-2, dating back to 1994. The Crimson has won the last 11 meetings since 2000.

Colorado State
The Rams (0-5) have had more than two weeks off after opening the season at the Michigan Kick-Off against a group of highly ranked squads. Colorado State, which received a vote in the CWPA poll Feb. 8, held its own in the pool against No. 3 UCLA, No. 9 Indiana, No. 11 Michigan and No. 18 UC-San Diego, but fell in each of its five matches during the event. Senior Amber Bryan led the Rams throughout the Michigan Kick-Off, tallying 12 goals in five games. Junior Shelby Schaefer and sophomore Stephanie Weed are Colorado State's defensive leaders, as each has seven steals this season.

Sunday's meeting will be the first ever between the two schools.

Next Up
Harvard will be back in Princeton, N.J. for three more games at DeNunzio Pool during the MAAC/East Challenge Feb. 25-26. The Crimson squares off against Wagner, Iona and Villanova, for a third time this season, during the tournament.