While most of us were busy planning costumes for a weekend of Halloween mayhem, Francesca Den Hartog ’83 readied herself for a different sort of celebration.
Last weekend, the former Harvard women’s lacrosse captain and two-time All-America honoree was inducted, along with seven other lacrosse greats, into the National Lacrosse Hall of Fame.
The Harvard women’s lacrosse team was well represented when the Ivy League released its season awards Tuesday afternoon.
Three Crimson players were honored with All-Ivy selections, and freshman Jennifer VanderMeulen was unanimously selected as Ivy League Rookie of the Year.
VanderMeulen also earned a spot on the first-team All-Ivy squad after finishing the regular season as the conference’s leading scorer.
Following yesterday’s 18-10 trouncing of Columbia, the Harvard women’s lacrosse team had done all it could do for itself to earn one of four playoff berths in the Ivy League Tournament.
After getting the job done in New York, the Crimson’s fate now lay in the hands of two conference rivals. If No. 6 Penn and No. 7 Dartmouth came away with victories the next day, Harvard would sneak into the fourth spot.
The last time the Harvard women’s lacrosse team beat Princeton, the first George Bush was still in the White House. But the two squads went in opposite directions after 1992.
The Tigers soared to the top of the nation, winning back-to-back NCAA titles in 2002 and 2003 before Virginia upset its bid for an undefeated season and a third straight title in the tournament finals.
Meanwhile, the Crimson sunk to the bottom of the league, and the once-fierce rivalry became a guaranteed victory for Princeton, which has won 17 straight over Harvard since ‘92. But after its two titles, the Tigers have started coming back to earth, whereas the Crimson has started to reemerge as a conference threat.
Could this be the year Harvard finally breaks the streak?
For the first one and a half games of the 2010 season, the Harvard women’s lacrosse team got a taste of something it can look forward to in 2011: the presence of two dominant scorers on the field at the same time.
But just when the Crimson found the perfect person to assume the role of sidekick to junior attacker Jess Halpern—last season’s Ivy League scoring leader—Halpern sustained a season-ending injury.
Now, instead of racking up easy scores as defenses focus their attention on Halpern, freshman Jennifer VanderMeulen has been the one receiving the extra attention.