In a crosstown rivalry game that saw over 50 shots on goal, the Harvard women’s lacrosse team could not pull of a victory against across-the-river opponent Boston College.
The Crimson (4-4, 2-1 Ivy) fell back to .500 on the season with its 13-9 loss to the Terriers (8-2, 1-2 ACC) Wednesday night at Soldiers Field.
Despite an early 3-0 lead to start off the game, Harvard allowed BC to come back into the game with eight unanswered goals to finish off the first half. The Crimson’s scoring drought after its third goal lasted almost a full 20 minutes, with the third goal coming with 19:37 left in the first half and Harvard fourth goal crossing the net 18 seconds into the second half.
“I thought the possessions of the draw control started going a little bit more in their direction so they had the ball a little bit more,” Harvard coach Lisa Miller said. “Then there was a sort of flurry when they were getting the line a lot more so…the momentum shifted in their favor.”
Overall the Terriers more than doubled the number of Crimson draw controls in the game, having a total of 18 by the end while Harvard amassed only six all game. In the first half BC had a 10-2 advantage on draw controls as it dominated play for the final 18 minutes. In the second half there were eight BC draw controls to the Crimson’s four.
“In reality you have to have the ball in order to score which means you have to fight harder for the draw controls,” Miller said. “And when we did do that we did come up with good plays and defensive stops. It’s more about the draw circle. They had twelve more possessions on the draw circle that we did.”
The second half belonged to Harvard, who both outscored and outshot the Terriers. The effort came too late in the game, as the eight point lead BC accumulated in the opening half proved to be too steep for the Crimson to overcome. The team was able to score six goals in the second stanza to BC’s five but never cut the deficit to closer than four goals. The lead grew as large as six for BC with seven minutes to go before Harvard scored the last two goals of the game.
Throughout the game Harvard also outshot the Terriers, amassing 29 tries at the opponent’s goal compared to 25 from the sticks of the visitors. The Crimson also narrowly edged its opponents on ground balls, getting 16 of 31 available ground balls.
“When we had the ball I think we did a good job of taking quality shots,” Miller said. “We took 29 shots and seven of them hit off the pipe, so that’s a pretty good attacking effort things just didn’t go our way sometimes and BC kept coming up with the ball.”
The Crimson offense was headed by freshman attacker Marisa Romeo, who had four goals on the night, including three free position shots and one unassisted score. Romeo leads the team with 26 goals through eight games and has 30 points on the season.
In each of the eight games played this season, a freshman has scored multiple goals for the team, and Wednesday’s game was the seventh time out of eight games that Romeo has scored at least two goals.
Todd and junior attacker Sophia Capone each added two goals for Harvard while senior attacker Chelsey Newman rounded out the scoring for the night with a single tally of her own. Todd added four ground balls while freshman Megan Hennessey and sophomore goalie Kelly Weis each had three in the loss.
Defensively, Weis made her eighth start of the season in between the poles and was able to stop nine of the 22 shots she handled. The Crimson also forced the Terriers into committing more turnovers in the match, pressuring Boston College into seven giveaways in each half while only turning the ball over nine times total, including just three times in the first thirty minutes of the game.
“We started to get a little more aggressive [in the second half],” Miller said. “I don’t know if it is necessarily a sense of adjustment versus when a team has the ball over and over and over again. You can play great defense and keep making defensive stops but eventually they are going to score.”
For Harvard, BC is the fourth team ranked in the top 20 that the team has faced off against this season. The Terriers come in at No. 5 in the rankings and are the second-highest ranked team the Crimson has seen this season.
“[Playing top ranked teams] changes the way you play in terms of pace,” Miller said. “Seeing these teams helps the awareness of the type of readiness you have to have to make you better. The bottom line is that playing better competition makes you better.”
—Staff writer Ariel Smolik-Valles can be reached firstname.lastname@example.org.