For the coaching staff and eight players of Harvard women’s water polo, the annual trip to California returns them to their home state. But while the Golden State represents home for a majority of the team, it also holds some of the toughest competition the women will face this season.
With only two games left in its seven-game tour through California, the Crimson (10-7, 1-0 CWPA) stands 2-3 for the week. Two of Harvard’s losses came at the hands of ranked teams and the third stemmed from a one-goal defeat, facts that provided the Crimson with many lessons.
“All the teams have played really differently, so you really have to minimize mistakes,” freshman Jamie Williams said. “We’re taking every game one game at a time. We’ve been really building as a team this week.”
SAN JOSE STATE 8, HARVARD 5
Harvard faced its second ranked opponent of the week in No. 9 San Jose State (15-8) on Wednesday.
Although the homecoming was pleasant for Harvard coach and Spartan alumnus Ted Minnis, the 8-5 loss to his alma matter made it an overall bittersweet experience.
The Crimson was able to fight with San Jose State for the opening three quarters, only trailing 4-3 going into the fourth. But, four Spartan goals in the closing frame put victory out of Harvard’s reach.
“Although they may have won and pulled away, we showed really well as a team that we can play with any team,” sophomore attacker Aisha Price said. “We’re all very happy with how we played, even though we lost.”
UC DAVIS 13, HARVARD 5
A sluggish offense against No. 15 UC Davis (12-6) led to the Crimson’s widest defeat of the week so far.
Although Harvard was able to compete with San Jose State on Wednesday, the exhaustion of four games in two days weighed heavily on the Crimson, who consistently trailed by a significant margin to the Aggies on Monday.
“We learned a lot of lessons in that game, and it showed two days later when we played San Jose State,” Price said.
HARVARD 11, FRESNO PACIFIC 9
On Monday, Harvard preceded its loss to UC Davis with an 11-9 comeback victory over Fresno Pacific (5-11). The Crimson’s forceful offense was led by a stand-out performance from sophomore 2-meter guard Elise Molnar, who scored three goals and had four of Harvard’s 10 steals.
The Crimson trailed by four goals as late as midway through the third quarter, but a stronger team effort changed the dynamic of the game.
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