The best women's lacrosse team in the Ivy League found itself trailing the Ancient Eight's worst team by two quick goals yesterday afternoon in Ithaca, N.Y.
But if the first 2:03 of yesterday's Harvard-Cornell contest belonged to the cellar-dwelling, doormat-selling Big Red squad, then the next 47:57 belonged to the four-time defending Ivy champion Crimson club.
And they especially belonged to freshman Cindy Ersek.
The diminutive Crimson attacker recorded four second half goals and one first half assist, while leading Harvard to yet another Ivy win--this one a 14-4 thrashing of a totally outclassed Cornell squad.
Eleven players in all put their names into the scoring book for Harvard, which unleashed 36 shots on goal on route to a record 14th consecutive Ivy win.
Not since a 10-8 loss at Princeton more than two years ago has the Crimson lost an Ancient Eight contest, and yesterday's win upped Harvard's 1985 Ivy mark to 4-0.
As a result, the laxwomen moved into a first place tie with Yale in the race for the Ivy crown. Harvard--gunning for its fifth straight league title--will meet Yale in a contest scheduled for later this month on Soldiers Field.
It was no contest, though yesterday on Schoelkopf Field. Or at least not after the first 2:03.
For after the hosts stunned the nation's eighth-ranked Harvard squad with two quick goals--the first just 23 seconds after the opening whistle and the second at the 2:03 mark--the visitors responded with seven straight scores.
The key in that scoring outburst was freshman Liz Faecher, who in one three-minute period sent three straight bulle's past a bullet-ridden Cornell goalie Ellen Grant.
When Crimson senior Jennifer Greeley closed out the first half scoring just 12 seconds before intermission, Harvard had built a 9-3 advantage.
And that set the stage for the Cindy Ersek Show.
The Swarthmore, Pa. native wasted no time putting her name on the Ivy Rookie of the Year ballot, sending her first--and Harvard's 10th--goal of the afternoon past Grant just 13 seconds into the second half.
By the time she'd finished, Ersek--whose four goals came in the first 12 minutes of the final period--had recorded half as many points in one day as she had in the squad's 11 previous outings.
And by the time the game had finished, the Crimson had won its 26th Ivy win in its last 28 Ancient Eight outings.
THE NOTEBOOK: Harvard is now 8-4 overall...Cornell fell to 2-5-1 overall and 0-4 Ivy...After 12 games a year ago, Harvard was 10-2...The Crimson is staring at one more road game before returning home for two final contests...The Cantabs have won three in a row and five of their last six...Harvard, an 11-0 victor last weekend at Northeastern and an 11-3 winner at Brown last week, has won its last three games by a combined score of 36-7...The laxwomen are currently averaging 10.1 goals a game. The team record for one season is 12 goals a game...They have outscored their opponents this year, 122-75...Harvard has outscored its Ivy opponents, 57-16. In six league games a year ago, Harvard scored 66 goals...In its last six outings, Harvard is giving up an average of three goals...In 14 games last year, the laxwomen scored 137 goals. In 12 games so far this year, they have tallied 122 goals.