For 15 minutes of Saturday’s game against No. 7 Princeton, everything seemed to be going well for the Harvard women’s lacrosse team. The Tigers had scored three times, and the Crimson had answered each goal with a score of its own, leaving the game tied at 3-3 halfway through the opening period.
When the final whistle blew 45 minutes later, Harvard had kept pace with Princeton in most statistical categories. The Crimson was close behind its opponent in shots, posting 26 to the Tigers’ 30, and had actually outpaced Princeton in draw controls, 16-10.
However, the Tigers had a significant edge in the only category that really counts. Princeton (9-1, 3-0 Ivy League) blew Harvard (6-5, 3-1 Ivy) away with a barrage of goals, erasing any memory of the early tie as it beat the Crimson, 20-5, in Princeton, N.J.
“[We need to work on] sticking together as a team when things are going both well and badly [and] playing together,” senior attacker Marisa Romeo said.
More than anything, the result came down to efficiency in front of net.
The Tigers were devastatingly effective, converting two-thirds of their efforts on frame. Princeton senior midfielder Olivia Hompe, who is second in the country for goals per game, led her team with five scores and an assist, while 10 different Tigers players found the back of the net over the duration of the contest.
Only one Princeton player recorded a shot without a goal, while four members of the Crimson did the same. Harvard’s three most prolific scorers on the year, sophomore midfielder Keeley MacAfee, tri-captain attacker Maeve McMahon, and Romeo combined for 13 shots but produced only one goal and two assists between them.
The matchup marked the first time that Romeo has been held scoreless this season, and the Crimson’s five goals were its lowest total for a single game this year.
The Tigers were strong between the pipes, producing 12 saves to keep Harvard off the board and limiting the Crimson to a single goal in the second half.
Meanwhile, Harvard only came up with half as many stops. Junior goalie Meredith Brown turned away five of the 17 shots she faced in 45 minutes of playing time, while junior goalie Olivia Gundrum played for a quarter of the game and allowed eight goals on nine shots.
The Crimson was also not helped defensively by repeated forays into foul trouble. Harvard racked up 10 more infractions than Princeton, collecting 33 to the Tigers’ 23. The Crimson picked up 19 of those fouls in a second period in which it was outscored 10-1, while Princeton recorded just seven fouls in the same stanza.
Harvard also collected six yellow cards in the second half alone, more than it has been awarded in any complete game this season. The Tigers capitalized on three of those opportunities, scoring a trio of man-up goals in the closing stanza.
The three man-up scores, combined with the Crimson’s general difficulty with fouls, contributed to a second period in which Princeton obliterated any hopes of a Harvard comeback.
The Tigers scored seven times, including three consecutive goals for Hompe, before the Crimson was able to get on the board.
Just under 15 minutes through the second frame, junior midfielder Julia Glynn faked a pass, cut in front of the goal, and beat the Princeton netminder with a shot fake before easily finding the back of the net for her 13th finish of the season and Harvard’s lone score of the period.
Men's Lacrosse Falls Short in Comeback Attempt at PrincetonDespite mounting a valiant fourth quarter comeback on Friday, the Harvard men’s lacrosse team failed to dig itself out of a significant early hole against Princeton. The Crimson outscored the Tigers, 4-0, in the final period but fell just short, dropping a 12-11 decision.
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