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'A Real Gem'

Freshman of the Year Liz Berkery

By Michael Stankiewicz

The Virginia Cavaliers women's lacrosse coaches wouldn't even talk to Liz Berkery about playing in their program, but when they opened their papers Monday to read about the 1990 Final Four, they must have started muttering when they read that Berkery scored the tying goal in the championship game.

Harvard Coach Carole Kleinfelder was more than willing to chat with Berkery, and the Harvard Crimson freshman of the year has been all too happy to contribute to the program.

"Liz is a real gem," Kleinfelder said after Sunday's championship-clinching 8-7 win over Maryland. "Being a freshman and having the poise to pull the goalie out and stuff the ball in is something special."

That something special was Berkery's full-field sprint on the game-tying goal with five minutes remaining in the title game. She had All-America Char Joslin--who had scored seven goals already in the Final Four--on her left, but it was clear that Berkery was not about to let this opportunity fall to a careless pass.

Although Berkery is a reserve attacker, she will enter next season as the team's leading returning scorer after finishing fifth on the squad with 22 points on 17 goals and five assists.

And although she doesn't start, it took Berkery only three games for her teammates to start singling her out as a major contributor. On March 29 in Philadelphia, the Crimson trailed top-ranked Temple, 4-2, at halftime, and Berkery took over. Sparking the offense, Berkery's aggressive play, early second-half goal and second tally later in the period helped Harvard break Temple's 35-game home winning streak, 7-6.

"It was pretty scary to play [at Temple]," Harvard Co-Captain Julia French said. "It wasn't pretty. We didn't play that well, but Liz Berkery had a great game and got us back in the game."

A quote that would be just as appropriate two months later in Princeton.

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