FEMALE ATHLETE OF THE YEAR: Melanie Baskind
In her final year in a Crimson uniform, Baskind shined on both the lacrosse and soccer fields
“It definitely hasn’t hit me full blast yet,” Melanie Baskind says as she sits at a table in the lobby of Quincy House wearing a crimson “Harvard Soccer” shirt and one of her three Ivy League championship rings.
It’s exactly a week after the Harvard women’s lacrosse team’s loss to Penn in the first round of the Ivy League tournament brought an end to the Crimson’s 2012 season. But the 9-5 defeat ended more than that; it also marked the end of an era.
For four years, Melanie Baskind has dominated the Ivy League.
On the lacrosse and soccer pitches, she’s played in 115 games, handed out 44 assists, and scored 115 goals. She’s served as a team captain on three occasions, won three Ivy League championships, and been named to seven All-Ivy teams.
In her four years in a Crimson uniform, Baskind has accomplished quite a bit, but her final season was the most impressive.
On the soccer field, Baskind captained Harvard to its third Ivy League championship in four years, scoring a conference-high eight goals along the way. After the season, she was unanimously voted the Ivy League Player of the Year and selected to the All-Ivy First Team for the second straight season.
But Baskind’s year didn’t end there. For the third time, Baskind—a standout three-sport athlete while at nearby Framingham High School—suited up for the women’s lacrosse team in the spring.
In her second season as women’s lacrosse captain, Baskind played a crucial role on both sides of the field for a Crimson squad that went 5-2 in the Ivy League. On the offensive end, she finished second on the team with 27 goals and first with six assists. On the defensive end, she was first on the team in caused turnovers (15), second in ground balls (37), and third in draw controls (22).
“She’s a dynamic player,” says Ellen Gleason, Baskind’s co-captain on the lacrosse team. “She’s all over the field.”
Just three years ago, though, Baskind wasn’t even sure she could make the team. After being a two-time All-American in lacrosse in high school, Baskind decided to give up the sport when she came to Harvard, choosing to focus on soccer instead.
But after her freshman year, during which she was named Ivy League Rookie of the Year in soccer, Baskind had an itch to return to the lacrosse field.
“I felt like if I didn’t try it given the fact that I had the opportunity, it was something I would always wonder [about] looking back,” she says.
After getting approval from women’s soccer coach Ray Leone, Baskind opted to give lacrosse a shot in her sophomore year.
At first, the 5’3” midfielder experienced quite a bit of uncertainty.
“I didn’t know what my stick skills would look like,” she recalls. “I didn’t even know if I would make the team.”