In a thrilling upset over No. 20 Cornell on Saturday, Jess Halpern led the way for the Crimson offense, breaking out to score four goals while adding an assist in Harvard’s 11-7 victory over the Big Red.
After a rocky Ivy League season that the Harvard women’s lacrosse team (5-10, 2-5 Ivy) finished with a bang this weekend, powering over No. 20 Cornell (9-6, 3-4), 11-7. This contest snapped Harvard’s five-game losing streak.
“Overall, the game was great,” senior attacker Kaitlin Martin said. “It was the first time in my four years that we beat Cornell. It was amazing to finish the Ivy season with the win.”
After an early tally from sophomore Jess Halpern, the Big Red came back to score two back-to-back goals to take a 2-1 lead.
Before long, Halpern put another two goals in the back of the net, recording her 11th hat trick of the season.
After Cornell tied the score back up at three, the Crimson rallied to gain a five-goal lead with a little more then 12 minutes remaining in the first half.
Junior tri-captain Sara Flood added two goals for Harvard, while captain Shannon Flynn, freshman Tyler Petropulos, and Martin each notched a tally in the five-goal streak. Halpern and freshman Katie Doherty each recorded an assist over the course of Harvard’s run, while the other three goals were unassisted.
But the Big Red answered right back, dominating the last 10 minutes of the half and coming within one goal of Harvard.
The half ended with a score of 8-7, which would be the closest Cornell would get to the Crimson for the rest if the game.
“We took an early lead, but Cornell chipped away at us,” Flood said. “At halftime, we just wanted to get back out on the field. We came out and tried to win every 50-50 ball.”
The Big Red could touch the back of the net for the rest of the game. Sophomore Katherine Martino kept the Crimson alive, holding Cornell to only seven goals and recording eight saves.
“Kate Martino had some huge saves that kept us in the game,” Martin said.
It was not only the goaltending that held the Big Red scoreless in the second half. The Crimson defense kept Cornell tame throughout the entire game, only allowing 15 shots through all 60 minutes.
“At one point, [defenders] Delia Pais and Ellen Gleason had an unbelievable double team which really stuck out,” Flood said. “The defense had a lot of pressure on them all game, and they handled it well.”
Pais and Gleason also tallied two ground balls each.
The Big Red’s attacking threat, Libby Johnson, was held to only one goal in the match.
While Cornell’s offense was stagnant, Harvard managed to tally another three goals to bring the final score to 11-7. Halpern and Martin paired up to score another two goals, while Doherty capped it off for the Crimson, scoring her first goal of the game and 15th of the season.
“Everything went really well, and everything seemed to come together,” Flood said. “Everyone did their job. It started with the goaltending and the motivation just trickled down.”
Harvard now leads the all-time series, 20-10, but of the past 11 meetings, Cornell has been victorious in 10. In their meeting last year, Martin scored four of the Crimson’s nine goals in a 12-9 loss.
Halpern and Martin still top the charts in goals for the season. Halpern sits at 44, with Martin right behind her at 37.
Harvard looks for another victory next Thursday, as it takes on local rival Boston College. The game will be in Chestnut Hill at 4:30 and will wrap up the season for the Crimson.
“BC is always a good game for us,” Martin said. “We will prepare for this game like any other game, by focusing on the little things. If we do that, we should end our season well.”