W. Lacrosse Drops Three, Extending Streak to Five
“In some ways, we had moments of playing our best, and I think we had moments we definitely let down,” captain Kelly Noon said.
The Crimson’s Ivy opener revealed a squad that could fight back from a 3-0 deficit against one of the best defenses in the country, an important statement for a team that has had trouble coming from behind.
“What we’re trying to do is take one step forward with the defense,” senior attack Casey Owens said.
CALIFORNIA 11, HARVARD 6
Harvard opened its spring break play on Sunday, March 27 in a bout against the Golden Bears that was closer for most of play than the final score would suggest. The Crimson kept up through the first half, but the scoreboard seesaw gave way in the second, as California went on two three-goal runs to build an insurmountable lead.
The Bears outscored Harvard 6-2 in the second half—6-1 after the breakaway from senior midfielder Elaine Belitsos that started the scoring 30 seconds into the half and tied the game at 5-5.
Junior midfielder Allie Kaveney broke up California’s run with an unassisted goal halfway through the second.
“We weren’t playing strong enough one-on-one defense,” Noon said. “They beat us at stuff we’re typically strong at.”
Sophomore midfielder Caroline Hines made the first mark on the scoreboard for a lead with an unassisted goal with 24:56 left, her first of the season. The lead bounced back and forth through the next thirty minutes, as the Bears broke ahead and Harvard succeeded in evening the margin.
Freshman midfielder Natalie Curtis tied the game at 2-2 with 9:31 left in the first with a shot from free position. The only Crimson player to notch multiple goals, Curtis would tie the game up again four minutes later on an assist from sophomore midfielder Margaret Yellott, one of her two in the game.
Neither team demonstrated a clear advantage in the statistics that reflect the real dominance of the game—Harvard led on shots attempted (27 to 26) and draw controls gained (11 to 8), and the Bears snagged more groundballs (12 to 11), and both teams committed an equal number of turnovers.
“It is encouraging that the statistics are pretty even,” Owens said. “We know we’re right there.”
One difference lay in shots from free position—California converted on 4-of-8, while the Crimson capitalized on 1-of-5.
BUCKNELL 11, HARVARD 8
As in the previous game, Harvard kept pace early with Bucknell (3-8), but failed to avert a scoring burst before the halftime whistle as it fell on March 30.
Bison midfielders Andrea Paraud and Emily Burner each tallied four goals as Bucknell slipped past a Crimson squad whose second-half tenacity could not compensate for lapses late in the first.
“We definitely should have beaten Bucknell. That was a must-win for us,” Noon said. “We were in a position where we didn’t come out hard enough, we got down early, and we couldn’t recover.”
Goals from Curtis and Kaveney kept Harvard abreast of the Bison, but Bucknell lept up by two, and a goal from freshman Caroline Simmons could not provide sufficient insurance against three goals from free position that sent the Bison up 7-3. Bucknell converted four of six shots from free position to the Crimson’s one of five.
Curtis and sophomore attack Liz Gamble contributed two more before the break, which Harvard entered down 8-5, belying a major offensive drought by the Crimson. The Bison got off 19 shots in the first half to Harvard’s nine and picked up more than twice as many draw controls.
The Crimson fired off 15 shots in the second period to Bucknell’s seven and came within two points three times in the period.
YALE 16, HARVARD 9
Harvard faced stiff competition in Yale (4-4, 1-2 Ivy), which received votes in the top-20 poll—and the quality of the opposition lessened the sting of defeat.
“We really put a good game together, even though the score doesn’t show it,” Owens said.
Owens kept the Crimson on the scoreboard early in the game, answering the Bulldogs’ initial 3-0 lead with three goals from free position. Owens lined up against a weak spot in the Bulldog defense and discovered the formula for drawing fouls.
“The goals that came yesterday were really the result of the team coming together. It just happened that I was able to move on my defender because she was bad,” Owens said.
Again, Harvard kept in the fight, but found itself outscored late in the first half. Yale scored two before, and three after, an unassisted tally from Gamble, entering halftime on top of a 7-4 lead.
Belitsos opened the second with dual goals, one on an assist from freshman attack Tara Schoen, but the Bulldogs subsequently ran the Crimson for five consecutive scores.
Curtis snagged two late in the second, while Kaveney contributed a goal and an assist in the last 10 minutes.
“We talked a lot about mental toughness, and we showed a lot of that,” Noon said. “At times, if we’re mentally tough, can compete with teams in the top.”
—Staff writer Samuel S. Scott can be reached at email@example.com.