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Sudden-Death Tally Gives Women’s Water Polo Fifth Straight Win

Shayna Price scored a dramatic game-ending goal in sudden death overtime to propel the Crimson past Iona, 14-13, Sunday (photo courtesy Harvard Athletic Communications).

PRINCETON, N.J. –
 Devan Kennifer converted a steal into the game-tying goal with less than 30 seconds to play in overtime and Shayna Price found the back of the cage in the sudden-death frame to give the Harvard women's water polo team a 14-13 win over Iona at the MAAC/East Challenge in Princeton, N.J. Sunday morning. The Crimson, which won its fifth straight, avenged a one-goal loss to the Gaels in the season opener Feb. 4.

The Gaels (3-2) got off to a hot start, scoring the contest's first six goals, including a 5-0 advantage after one quarter. The six-goal margin was Harvard's biggest deficit of the season, but the Crimson wasted no time getting back into the game. In a half of streaks, Harvard scored the next four to enter the break down 6-4.

The Crimson (7-2) continued its comeback in the third, outscoring Iona 3-2, to cut the Gaels' lead to one, 8-7.

In the final frame, Harvard scored two of the first three goals to tie the score, 9-9, in the final minutes, before Iona took the lead, 10-9. With possession after the Gaels' tenth goal, the Crimson ran a play for Monica Zdrojewski and the senior found the back of the cage for the second time in the match to force overtime with the score knotted at 10.

In the first of two three-minute overtime periods, Iona once again jumped to an early lead, scoring twice to take a 12-10 advantage. Co-captain Shannon Purcell added a 6-on-5 power play tally, as the Crimson would not go down easy, to cut Iona's lead in half heading to the second extra frame.

The teams traded scores to start the second overtime, making the score 13-12, with less than a minute to play. Iona held possession with a chance to waste the final seconds of the match, but the Gaels' threw a bad pass in front of the goal, which Devan Kennifer stole and converted into the game-tying score with less than 30 seconds to play to send the contest into sudden death.

Per NCAA rules, three-minute sudden-death periods were to be played until a goal was scored to determine the winner.

Harvard and Iona raced to each end of the pool, remaining scoreless during the first few possessions of the dramatic sudden-death format, until Shayna Price provided the heroics. The sophomore, who scored the Crimson's second overtime goal, netted a golden goal past Iona's goalie to give Harvard an instant victory.

Shayna Price ended the game with two goals, three assists and six steals to lead the Crimson alongside her sister, Aisha, who contributed five scores, two helpers and three takeaways. Aisha Price has had at least a hat trick in eight of nine games this season.

Ariel Dukes made five saves in goal for Harvard.

The Crimson's fifth consecutive win comes at the end of seven straight games at Princeton's DeNunzio Pool. During the stretch, Harvard won six of seven at the Princeton Invitational and MAAC/East Challenge.

Harvard will be in action next weekend at Blodgett Pool, when it hosts the Harvard Invitational March 2-4. The Crimson opens the invite against San Jose State March 2 at 8 p.m.

Iona, W 14-13 SDOT
Goals
Aisha Price 5
Shannon Purcell 3
Devan Kennifer 2
Monica Zdrojewski 2
Shayna Price 2 

Assists
Aisha Price 2
Shannon Purcell 2
Devan Kennifer
Monica Zdrojewski 2
Shayna Price 3
Ariel Dukes 

Steals
Aisha Price 3
Devan Kennifer 2
Monica Zdrojewski 3
Shayna Price 6
Ariel Dukes 

Saves
Ariel Dukes 5