It was the apocalyse of a season this weekend, as the women's lacrosse team placed seventh in the national tournament at Princeton. It was war. Call it Aoicalax. The horror. The horror.
Entering the tournament seeded seventh, the Crimson first met the Elis from New Haven and put the Yale dog to sleep, 11-6, avenging an Eli tie earlier this spring. But the body-bruise count was high as the women from New Haven hacked away at the Harvard attacks.
Yet, the Crimson strafed the Yale zone defense with pinpoint passing, and left the first half with a 7-2 lead. Harvard maintained the offensive as the second half began, with senior co-captain Julie Cornman blasting in two goals, her second and third of the game. Freshman attack Francesca Den Hartog also invaded the Eli net three times to add another hat trick to her coup stick.
Even a final Yale barrage of four goals in as many minutes couldn't salvage the battle for the Elis, as Anne MacMillan countered with the games final goal to ensure the Crimson a victory. "We really wanted to beat Yale since we has tied them earlier," Den Hartog said, adding, "We played fantastically."
Game number two pitted the Crimson against second-seeded Penn State. Fighting back from two quick Penn goals Sarah Mleczko fired in three shots to put Harvard ahead. Then, responding to Penn's third tally, Den Hartog and Jennifer White, another freshman attack, scored in the final minute of the half to give Harvard a 5-3 advantage.
Den Hartog scored again early in the second half, but Penn replied with six rapid-fire goals and finally took the game, 12-6.
Clearing the bench for the next game against James Madison University, coach Carole Kleinfelder started two women from the J.V. squad, Sue Mentor and Marget Long, both of whom played the entire 50 minutes.
The first half was all Crimson, Laura DiBonaventura opening up the Harvard blitz with a quick goal. Den Hartog, White and Kerry Bryan also found the Madison net, and MacMillan beat the opposing goalie three times to negate two Madison goals.
The team from Virginia mounted a six-goal attack in the second half, but MacMillan and company countered with five goals of their own to hand the Harvard women a 12-8 win.
Returning to the battlefield for the fourth time in 36 hours, the laxwomen prepared to meet the onslaught of a strong and speedy Princeton squad. Having destroyed the Tigers, 11-3, earlier in the season, the weary Crimson squad was prepared to notch another victory and move on to the final round Sunday.
But using its superior speed to advantage, Princeton brought the ball up the field effectively, to stay within one goal of the Crimson after the first 25 minutes. After Princeton tied things up early in the second half, Den Hartog put Harvard on top again. White then tallied, followed by Den Hartog's third goal of the afternoon, giving the Crimson a 6-3 edge.
But the orange plague responded with three goals to tie the game at six. Then, with only 30 seconds left on the clock, Mleczko took the ball and charged the Tiger net, only to be met midway by a Princeton stick.
The Harvard attackwoman suffered a broken nose but stayed in the game, firing the final shot of her season just minutes later. The ball was wide by a few inches, and the Tigers passed it down the field to freshman superstar Kris Brower, who fired it past Nancy Boutillier to ice the victory for Princeton.
For this year's women's lacrosse team, which finished the season with a 12-5-1 record, it was the apocalax.