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The Harvard women's lacrosse team notched its most important win of the season yesterday by demolishing a favored UNH team in Durham, N.H., by a convincing score of 6-1.
"I've never seen our team play better," coach Carol Kleinfelder said last night. "Not only were there a lot of outstanding individual performances in a very pressured game, but it was also extremely, satisfying to beat UNH for the first time," she added.
From the Start
The Crimson never gave the 100-strong crowd of UNH supporters anything to cheer about as they jumped to an early lead and then steadily widened the margin during the rest of the game.
Harvard's ability to work the ball down the field into scoring range before the UNH defense had time to set up was the key to the squad's success, as senior scoring machine Sarah Mlezcko ably demonstrated at 4:25 into the first half when she worked her way inside to tally the first of two unassisted goals.
The Crimson distinguished itself as it broke through UNH's man-to-man defense five more times to rocket goals by a dazed UNH netminder. Before the half ended with the lopsided score of 6-0, freshman Jenny White and sophomore Annie Velie had each scored, with freshman Francesca Denhartog also notching two tallies to tie Mlezcko in the scoring column.
UNH opened up the second half with a strategy designed to stop Harvard from scoring, as both offense and defense gathered around the goal when the Crimson came into scoring range.
"When they put their whole team on defense like that, they stopped us from scoring, but it turned out they couldn't score themselves," Kleinfelders said.
Not only did UNH not score, but they didn't even come close. Harvard netminder Nancy Boutillier saw only limited action as most of the game remained in the middle of the field stifled by numerous turnovers. Attack Leslie Bennett managed the only UNH points as she fired a shot high in the corner of the crease with five minutes left to play in the game.
Leading the defense with strong performances yesterday were Velie, with 11 groundballs, and co-captain Stefi Baum and sophomore Chris Sailer each with five.
"They hustled but we outhustled them," Sailer said last night. "They were good preparation for UMass. Now that we've beaten the number-three team, we have the confidence to take on the number-one team."
The Crimson meets UMass Saturday.
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