Neither rain, nor sleet, nor snow, nor hail, nor dark of night will ever stop Sarah Mleczko from scoring her appointed share of goals.
Yesterday it was rain that the Crimson scoring dynamo had to battle; but over the soggy terrain, Mleczko made her appointed rounds and delivered four unassisted goals to the Harvard women's field hockey team to give them a 4-1 win over Wellesley.
Mleczko teamed up with former J.V. scoring power Ann Velie, who was just promoted to the varsity right wing spot, to pick up the faltering Harvard attack. The Crimson Stickwomen had tied three games prior to yesterday's contest with the offense failing to put out the necessary punch.
But Velie and Mleczko combined for an incredible 26 shots on goal to lead the revitalized Harvard attack, which yesterday poured in 37 shots.
"Ann and Sarah really did nicely together," captain Lucy Wood said. "We changed around some of the team because we were trying to find some new scoring combinations."
Prior to the game, coach Debi Field moved Mary Howard from right wing to right back and flipped Lucy Wood and Julie Cornman, putting Wood at left back and Cornman at left link.
The new alignment not only bolstered the offense, but it also helped out the defense.
"The defense really sorted things out and began playing more like a unit," Wood said. "We just really played well."
In a light but constant rain, Mleczko and the attack wasted little time, as the right inside drilled a shot into the Wellesley net just three minutes after the opening face-off.
Twice more, at 12:30 and 24 even, Mleczko came back for more points to complete a first-half hat trick and give the Crimson women a comfortable halftime cushion.
Mleczko's third score of the half came on a magnificent solo effort, as she avoided four Wellesley defenders and slid the ball into the left corner of the goal.
In the second half, the Crimson machine kept up the pressure, but Wellesley's Lina Green broke through on a Harvard defensive lapse to beat goalie Ellen Seidler and notch Wellesley's lone score. The shot was one of only four that Wellesley got off throughout the entire contest.
Mleczko added a finishing touch to the Harvard win with a fourth score 24 minutes into the second half. The goal came on a scramble in front of the Wellesley goal in which Mleczko ended up with the ball and pushed it into the waiting net.
"They weren't a fast team and it gave us time to evaluate our own performance," said Wood. "It could have easily been a lot higher score though--it seemed like Sarah took about 50 shots."
In reality, Mleczko tallied an impressive 21 shots on goal for the day.
The win broke a string of Harvard ties and upped the team's record to 4-1-3.
J.V. Keeps It Up
In the J.V. contest that followed the varsity game, Harvard continued its dominant role, routing the Wellesley J.V., 4-0.
Sue Field and Betsy McIntyre each notched scores while Willa Brown added two more to give the J.V. its fourth win of the season against three defeats.
Brown opened the scoring 13 minutes into the game with a score off a pass from Field. McIntyre followed her two minutes later with a score off another Field pass.
Late in the half, Field finally hit paydirt with her own shot, taking a pass from McIntyre to up the lead to 3-0.
Brown chipped in her second score of the day midway through the second half with an unassisted goal off a break from the top of the circle.
Both the varsity and the J.V. teams will travel to Providence Saturday for what is expected to be a tough contest against an always strong Brown team. Face-off time for both games is 10:30 a.m.