While the leading scorers on the Harvard women’s lacrosse team got their share of goals Saturday, late tallies from one of the Crimson’s less prolific shooters spurred the team to a win that snapped a recent seven-game losing streak.
Sophomore midfielder Sarah Bancroft’s two consecutive goals broke an 11-11 tie and put Harvard (3-10, 1-4 Ivy) up for good in a 14-12 victory over Columbia (5-9, 0-6 Ivy) at Harvard Stadium.
“It was a gorgeous day yesterday and it was a must-win game for us,” junior attack Kaitlin Martin said. “It would have been our first ever Ivy win in the Stadium. And so everyone came out and we got the job done.”
In recent games, the Crimson has struggled with slow starts, often allowing its opponent to open the game with a scoring spree.
Junior attack Tara Schoen took matters into her own hands Saturday, single-handedly preventing any such deficit. After five scoreless minutes, Schoen put Harvard on the board, notching her first of the game off a free position shot. She scored unassisted just 23 seconds after a Lions equalizer. A minute later, Schoen tallied her third of the game off an assist from freshman attack Sarah Flood to put the Crimson up, 3-1.
Columbia quickly rallied, however, as goals from attack Elyse Pultz and midfielder Kate Lombard tied the game at 3.
Junior attack Caroline Simmons scored an unassisted goal for Harvard, but Pultz and Lombard each scored again to give the Lions their its first lead of the game. Junior defender Lauren Bozbin scored the last goal of the half for the Crimson—her first career strike—to even the score at 4-4.
Columbia seized a 6-4 lead early in the second half, but Martin retaliated for Harvard, ripping off three straight goals to increase her team-leading count and put the Crimson ahead, 7-6.
Crisp offensive and defensive execution marked Harvard’s play in the second half, as the squad responded quickly to each Lions challenge.
“I think we were just passing the ball really well,” Martin said. “We had great connections on a couple draw-and-dumps. Our defense was great. [Freshman goalie] Katie Martino had a couple great stops. Everyone was just playing well.”
A key to Harvard’s strong performance in the second half was its success at winning draws. After winning six of 11 faceoffs in the first half, the Crimson captured 14 of 16 in the second half.
“We had Jackie at center and she was doing a great job getting the draw to go to the attacking side,” Martin said. “And then Caroline Simmons and Lexie Comstock did a great job controlling the ball.”
After Columbia forced the sixth tie of the game, at 7-7, Harvard regained the lead again with goals from Schoen and Martin. But the Lions surged ahead to grab an 11-10 lead, its last of the game.
Freshman attack Alexandra Comstock scored off a free-position shot to tie the game at 11 and pave the way for Bancroft’s heroics.
“It was a gorgeous day and we won,” Simmons said. “It was also special because it was it was the last Ivy League home game in the in the stadium, so it was Senior Day for Perry Barlow. She’s such a great captain and we really wanted to honor her.”
Harvard takes a break from Ivy League play on Wednesday with a game against New Hampshire at Harvard Stadium before Friday’s tilt at Cornell.
—Staff writer Tyler D. Sipprelle can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.