STATE COLLEGE. Penn--"Experience is a tough teacher--it gives the test first and the lesson second," the saving goes.
Though they may ace academic exams in history, biochem and a host of other subjects, the women's lacrosse team blew the final in experience this weekend, returning from the NCAA tournament here with a disappointing fourth-place finish.
After defeating James Madison. 11-4, on Thursday, the laxwomen lost their first game of the season to the eventual champion. Maryland, 5-3. in the semis, before dropping an 8-6 decision to Temple in Saturday's consolation.
The Terps who qualified last for the tournament and were seeded eighth, edged Ursinus, 5-4. in the finals to cop the national crown.
Going into the Maryland game, the Crimson knew it was in for a fight, as the Lady Terps were hot off a 12-8 upset of host and number-one-seed Penn State, which had not lost a home game in four years
Maryland's Audrey Sehmuhl confirmed Harvard's fears at 22:26 when she received a free position ten yards in front of Crimson keeper Charlotte Worsley and proceeded to beat "Little Gump" with a blistering smash to the lower left corner.
Sehmuhl and teammate Sandy Linchan then each hit the crossbar in the next eight minutes before Crimson left attack wing Jennifer White took a pass from Maureen Finn, broke across the goal mouth, and beat Maryland's freshman keeper Marylynne Morgan at 14:57 to tie the score at one.
That was the extent of the scoring in the first half, as Francesca Den Hartog, who was blanked against both Maryland and Temple, had a free position blocked. Annie MacMillan bounced a breakaway attempt over the goal, and Worsley denied Maryland twice on point-blank. "O-no-Harvard's down-to-one" attempts.
In the second half, after three missed free positions. Linchan put the Terps ahead at 17:53 before Finn evened things at two with an over-the-top backhand bounce shot at 14:09.
The game then become more physical as violations marred the rest of the contest.
"We were frustrated," said Kerry Bryan. "Everyone was trying so hard. When someone would make a deke, people went for the hatchet trick."
The teams then traded another pair of goals before Linchan gave Maryland the eventual gamewinner with only three-and-a-half minutes remaining. Laura Lemire set up Linchan after scooping a ground ball in front of the Maryland goal and streaking virtually unmolested by a tired Harvard defense down the length of the field.
Sharon Watson spread some icing on the turf with a tally at 1:31. Maryland had its second straight upset, and Harvard had its first loss of the year.
"A bummer," said a dejected Chris Sailer as she walked out of the stadium.
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