After the Harvard women’s soccer team lost two of its first four Ivy League matches, the team’s chances for a third-straight league crown looked bleak. The squad’s 2-1 overtime loss to non-league opponent Siena on Oct. 19 seemed to indicate that the Crimson was headed in the wrong direction.
That’s when Melanie Baskind took things into her own hands.
The junior had the best game of her collegiate career Saturday at Princeton, scoring two goals and adding two assists in Harvard’s 4-0 thrashing of the Tigers. Her six points were a career high.
“She was in the zone,” Crimson coach Ray Leone said. “She was just seeing the ball, she was making great runs, [and] she was receiving it with good vision and composure. It was a fantastic performance.”
Prior to the Princeton contest, Baskind had been in a slump, failing to tally a point in the previous four matches.
The Quincy House resident turned that drought into merely a memory less than 20 minutes into the match. After fighting her way through the Tigers’ defense, Baskind beat the goalie in a one-on-one faceoff.
“She just committed to score,” co-captain Katherine Sheeleigh said of the goal. “I guess what was so special about her play was she didn’t let up.”
With the visitors only leading by one goal midway through the match though, Baskind took her play to an even higher level the next half.
About 16 minutes into the second period, Sheeleigh knocked in a blocked Baskind shot that had slipped away from Princeton’s goalie.
Within the next six minutes, Baskind added another goal of her own, and sophomore Alexandra Conigliaro scored Harvard’s fourth goal of the game after corralling another deflected Baskind shot and firing the ball into the back of the net.
The Tigers just couldn’t handle the Baskind blitzkrieg.
In total, the junior took six shots. All six were on goal, and four directly led to Crimson scores.
“Mel was unbelievable on Saturday,” Sheeleigh said. “She couldn’t have been any more dynamic, [and] she made stuff happen for us. She was basically awesome.”
“[Baskind] was responding to our team not doing that well on Tuesday [against Siena], and [she] just [said], ‘This is it,’” Leone added. “And we played with that kind of [attitude], and Mel led the way on that.”
For her efforts, she earned Ivy League Player of the Week honors for the second time this season.