Life is just getting better and better for the Harvard women's lacrosse team.
The top-ranked Crimson (6-0 overall, 2-0 Ivy) cruised to an 8-6 victory over New Hampshire in Durham, N.H. on Saturday. The game wasn't as close as the score may suggest.
"We dominated the game," said senior Char Joslin, who tallied three goals. "We had many more shots than they did. Our shots were just a little off."
Although the Crimson attack was spearheaded by Joslin and freshman Liz Berkery (two goals), it was the play of the defense--particularly defender Susan Carls (one goal)--that caught the attention of the Harvard players.
"Susan played really well," said Joslin. "She got to every ground ball. She blocked a shot. She even scored a goal, which is unusual for a defenseman."
"Susan's had three very good games in a row," Harvard Coach Carole Kleinfelder said. "She's been our most consistent player on defense."
Harvard held a 5-2 lead midway through the game behind the defensive play of Carls, but the Wildcats came out fired-up for the second half, scoring four goals against netminder Sarah Leary, who had a sub-par performance between the pipes.
"This was Sarah's worst game," Kleinfelder said. "She struggled with their fast-break style of attack."
The Crimson also had to cope with a tricky Wildcats defensive scheme during the second half, in which all 12 UNH players dropped back into the defensive zone.
"We played really well in the first half," sophomore defender Ceci Clark said. "We let down a little in the second half. They dropped everyone back on defense and made it hard to get anything in the goal."
"We led throughout the entire game," Joslin said, "but in the second half, UNH really picked it up and got back in the game, using high shots just over our goalie's head. But we didn't lose our focus. We played consistently throughout the game."
Coach Kleinfelder agreed with Joslin and pointed to improved team play and ball control by her squad as the key to her team's success.
"We played very well, much better than in our last two games against Princeton and Temple," Kleinfelder said. "We didn't get rattled, we adjusted well to their style of play, and we controlled the ball well."
An improved level of teamwork was obvious against UNH.
"This was probably our best game," Julia French said. "Playing as a team was our biggest improvement. Everyone was involved in the game."
"Our flow was better than in our other games," Joslin added. "We were going for the ground balls and seeing the whole field which enabled us to play a lot stronger as a team. Our passing was better than it had been."
While Kleinfelder seemed happy with the Crimson's improved level of play, she stressed the need for more improvement from her players.
"We're not as good as we can be," Kleinfelder said. "We have to concentrate more on ball control--passing at top speed--and we need better shot selection. We're still a long way from our maximum potential."
NOTEBOOK: The Crimson continues its road trip with a game against league rival Yale in New Haven on Wednesday before traveling to Burlington, Vt. to take on the Vermont Catamounts.