AMHERST--The Harvard women's lacrosse team had its hopes of a fifth consecutive SCAA playoff berth crushed yesterday by the nation's fourth ranked University of Massachusetts squad.
Before 100 in Amherst, the Minutemen convincingly defeated the Crimson, 6-3, and removed any realistic possibility that the laxwomen will earn a bid to the four-team NCAA playoff later this spring.
Harvard was physically out matched by a strong UMass squad and had to fight a powerful attack throughout the game The Crimson defense did an excellent job of staying off the Minutemen, but finally succumbed to two quick goals midway through the first half.
Within 30 seconds, the Harvard team found itself down 2.0. But the Crimson rallied to keep the game close with a goal by Jennifer Greekey at the end of the half.
Harvard Coach Carole Kleinfelder commented after the game that, though she had seen the team as a whole play better, the defense in the first half turned in an outstanding performance.
The visitors' defensive efforts, however, were simply not enough to sustain the team. The offense, except for occasional spurts, looked tired, and its passing simply was not crisp enough to elude a brawny UMass defense.
The Minutemen controlled the ball and kept it in the Harvard end most of the afternoon, although the hours' powerful offense did not break loose until the second half.
UMass opened the scoring in the second stanza, finding the net to beat Crimson goalie Krickett Johnson just one minute and 13 seconds into the second half.
Harvard kept up, however, when Lisa Black scored on a pretty turn-around move in front of the net, less than four minutes later.
The tally only delayed a three-goal UMass onslaught that put the game out of reach.
The Minutemen's aggressive checking and hustle overpowered the Crimson, which attempted to play more of a finesse game.
Harvard added a goal late in the second half to bring the final score to 6-3, when Liz Faecher tallied a penalty shot.