With 3.5 seconds remaining in regulation and down one goal to Penn, the Harvard women’s lacrosse team seemed to be nearing the end of its season. Co-captain Chelsey Newman turned that thought on its head, scoring a goal in the closing seconds of the game and forcing the first game of the Ivy League Tournament into overtime.
But the Crimson (9-7, 4-3 Ivy) could not come up with the victory on Saturday afternoon, ultimately falling to the No. 15 Quakers (12-4, 6-1), 10-9, in double overtime. The team’s first overtime game of the season also proved to be its last.
"It was a really exciting game," Newman said. "It showed a lot about the heart that our team has, and it was so much fun even though the outcome wasn't what we wanted."
The first overtime saw a goal from co-captain Kyleigh Keating put the Crimson up, 9-8. But that would be the last scoring drive from Harvard, as Penn tied the game with 1:22 to go in the first overtime and came through with the winning goal at 2:05 in the second extra frame.
For the day, the Crimson led Penn in most offensive categories, including shots on goal, ground balls, and draw controls. Sophomore attacker Audrey Todd led the team with three goals, recording her sixth hat trick of the season. Todd also added four ground balls and won five draw controls in the loss.
Freshman attacker Marisa Romeo made her presence felt on the field once again after going several games without scoring multiple goals. Romeo had two goals and three assists for Harvard, ending the year with a team-leading point total of 58. She also wrapped up the year with the most goals on the squad, scoring 48 over the course of 16 games.
Harvard came out ready to compete after having dropped its previous Ivy League matchup to Dartmouth on April 25. The offense stayed on pace with the nationally ranked Quakers. Through the nearly 67 minutes of play, there were five ties and five lead changes.
In the opening period of the match, the score was tied at two—and again at three—before the Crimson took a 5-3 advantage, thanks to a goal from sophomore attacker Alexis Nicolia that came off a feed from Romeo.
After halftime, Penn came out with two quick goals from Tory Bensen and Nina Corcoran to knot the score at five. The Quaker offense continued to roll, scoring two more goals to take the lead, 7-5, with 17 minutes remaining in regulation.
Late in the second half, the Crimson managed to string together a run of goals from Romeo, freshman attacker Megan Hennessey, and Newman, the last on a pass from Hennessey that closed out the fourth period and forced the game into overtime.
"There were 10 seconds left, and Megan tried to drive to the net but didn't have a lane,” Newman said. “I saw the opening with my defender and ran through the center. I thought ‘why not,’ because we had nothing left to lose. It was really exciting."
Sophomore Kelly Weis was in goal for Harvard for the entire contest. Weis made five saves on the 15 shots taken against her. On the other side of the field, Penn goalkeeper Lucy Ferguson handled seven of the 16 shots that Harvard took through regulation and the two overtime periods.
With the loss and the season now at an end, the Crimson can reflect on its improvement from the 2013 season, when the team finished with a 3-11 record.
"I think it was a lot of hard work and team work and knowing that we wanted to improve a lot this year," Newman said. "We had a clear message for everyone and that was important to keep in mind everyday.”
—Staff writer Ariel Smolik-Valles can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.