On Monday night, the No. 9 Virginia women’s lacrosse team came out early and never looked back. The Cavaliers notched two goals in the first three minutes of their Monday night matchup with Harvard and proceeded to roll throughout the first half, building a 6-1 advantage.
The early deficit was too much for the Crimson (4-6, 1-2 Ivy) to overcome, falling to Virginia (9-4, 2-2 ACC), 12-6, at Klockner Stadium in Charlottesville, Va.
With the win, the Cavaliers improved to 6-0 all-time against the Crimson and 6-1 at home this season, while Harvard fell to 1-3 on the road. The loss also marked Harvard’s second-straight defeat at the hands of a top-10 team after Saturday’s 10-6 loss to No. 2 Syracuse.
Virginia took control of the game early and seemed to bury Harvard from the beginning.
“Going into the game, we knew they were a team that possessed the ball well,” said junior Danielle Tetreault, who led the Crimson with two goals. “We needed to take the opportunities we had and take care of the ball and put them away.”
But the Crimson struggled to hold onto the ball, committing 14 turnovers compared to the Cavaliers’ six. The turnover imbalance contributed to Virginia’s offensive effort—in the first half, it outshot the Crimson, 10-3.
The Cavaliers controlled the opening draw and sophomore Katie Slater scored 14 seconds into the contest off a pass from freshman Sloan Warren. Virginia stretched the lead two minutes later after senior Josie Owen found the net.
“They won that first draw control, and they are a transition team,” Tetreault said. “That’s something we knew we would have to take care of going into [the game], but they were able to put one away right in the beginning.”
Harvard responded when Jenn Leffew scored to pull the Crimson within one with a little under 18 minutes to go in the first half.
But the Cavaliers then took off on a 4-0 run to take a commanding 6-1 lead. The last two goals were scored in the final 17 seconds of the half, leaving Harvard with an uphill battle coming out of the break.
Virginia’s run continued in the opening minutes of the second half when Owen scored her third goal of the game, putting Virginia ahead, 7-1.
Harvard was able to get on the board again when co-captain Melanie Baskind scored an unassisted goal. But Owen was able to come right back and put one away off a free-position shot, which gave Virginia an 8-2 advantage.
The Crimson rallied with a 3-0 run featuring a Tetreault score that was followed by sophomore Kyleigh Keating’s first goal of the season. Tetreault was able to find the net again with a little under 11 minutes remaining, which pulled Harvard within three and gave the team a shot at a comeback.
But once again it was Owen who squashed the Crimson’s chances with two consecutive goals, giving her six on the game and 28 on the season. Owen’s final score extended the Cavaliers’ lead back to five with seven minutes remaining in the contest.
Harvard junior attack Jennifer VanderMeulen put away an unassisted score before Virginia senior Ainsley Baker and junior Caroline McTiernan were able to close out the game with consecutive goals, giving the Cavaliers the 12-6 victory.
Though the Crimson played Virginia tight in the second frame, outshooting the home squad, 11-9, in the half, the Cavaliers’ early lead proved to be insurmountable.
While Owen led the charge for Virginia, seven Cavaliers players scored in the win. Tetreault led Harvard with two goals, and Baskind recorded two points with a goal and an assist.
“We need to make sure we keep playing as a team,” Tetreault said. “We have a lot of skillful players, and we just need to take advantage of what we have and find a way to make it mesh all together.”
—Staff writer Cameron Dowd can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.