Sophomore midfielder Audrey Todd scored a career-high four goals, including three in the second half, to lead the Harvard women’s lacrosse team past Boston University on a brisk Wednesday night at Harvard Stadium.
The Crimson (8-5, 3-2 Ivy) defeated the Terriers (6-9, 4-3 Patriot), 11-6, in its last nonconference game of the season. The victory gives Harvard a 13-11 advantage in the all-time series with its crosstown rival and exacts revenge for a 12-11 loss at BU last year.
In the second half of the season, Todd has emerged as one of the most potent threats for the balanced Crimson offense.
In the squad’s last five games, Todd has totaled 15 goals and produced four hat tricks. She added two assists against BU to give her six total points in the contest, also a career-high, and 29 for the year.
“[Todd] plays beyond her years,” Harvard coach Lisa Miller said. “She’s composed and steady and smart, and easy to play with.”
Free position shots proved vital to Harvard’s offensive success, as the team converted five of the nine that were attempted. Three of Todd’s markers came off free position opportunities, with sophomore Alexis Nicolia and freshman Marisa Romeo each adding free position scores of her own to allow Harvard to take advantage of the physicality of the game.
Romeo continued her dominant play this season, tallying three scores to increase her Ivy League-leading total to 42 total goals. The mark also puts Romeo at the top of the team’s leaderboard in scoring.
Other than an early 1-1 tie, the Crimson led for the entire contest. As it has in most of its recent games, Harvard raced out to an early lead, finding the net three times in a row to lead the Terriers, 4-1, in the first half.
“We’re looking to our last two games, which are both Ivy [League matchups], so we know how important it is to have a fast start all the time,” co-captain Kyleigh Keating said. “I think we also had some fire under our butts from the last game, and we wanted to come out fast.”
In its last contest, the Crimson fell, 15-6, to Princeton on Saturday at Harvard Stadium. The Tigers now sit atop the Ivy League standings after a 9-5 victory over Penn, which was previously unbeaten in conference play and handed the Crimson its only other league loss this season.
Despite the early deficit, BU battled back, outscoring Harvard 3-2 over the final 12 minutes of the opening frame to cut the halftime deficit to two.
But in the second half, the Crimson locked down defensively, holding the visitors to one goal through the first 26 minutes of the final 30 and building a five-goal lead to essentially seal the victory.
Although the triumph guarantees a winning record for Harvard this season, the Crimson must prevail in at least one of its two remaining games to earn a berth into the four-team Ancient Eight tournament.
Harvard currently sits in a tie with Cornell for third place in the league heading into its matchups with Columbia and Dartmouth. The good news for the Crimson is that both of those teams currently occupy the bottom two spots on the conference table.
According to Miller, the key for her team in the final games of the season will be handling pressure.
“We’re young, it shows up at different times, so I think composure [is a potential issue],” Miller said. “I think sometimes we’re surprised by how aggressive the other teams can be, and I think that’s just a transition from a high school game to a college game.”
Sophomore goalie Kelly Weis made seven saves to anchor the Harvard defense against the Terriers. Weis has been a mainstay in the net for the Crimson, starting every game this season. Her play has served as a barometer for Harvard all season long, as she has given up over six scores per game in wins but almost 14 in each of the team’s losses.
Junior Sophia Capone added two goals for the Crimson, while freshman Megan Hennessey notched one of her own as one of the five players to combine for Harvard’s first five points.
“All year long we’ve been trying to spread the ball around and make sure that everybody on the field is a threat,” Miller said. “I just think it’s too easy to defend when you only have two or three weapons…. We have good players and we want them all to assert themselves.”