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WHO said you never get a second chance?
Last season, the Harvard women's lacrosse team swept through its regular season undefeated, but could not recover from a 6-1 deficit in the NCAA championship game, dropping a 7-6 decision to Penn State. Undaunted, the Crimson posted another perfect regular-season record this year, and easily dispensed with Temple in the semifinals to advance to the title game.
In the final contest last Sunday, the Terrapins of Maryland raced out to a 4-0 first-half lead. Once again, the Crimson battled back. With less than five minutes remaining in the game, senior forward Jenny Walser found the net to give Harvard an 8-7 victory and the elusive national championship.
This is more than a storybook tale about perseverance and determination. And while this season has brought remarkable success for many of Harvard's spring sports teams, this is more than a story about success.
The victory marked Harvard's first-ever national championship for a womens' squad and highlighted the University's strong commitment to womens' sports.
Although inequalities remain--mostly the result of wealthy, independent "Friends of-" organizations associated with several sports--Harvard can claim the most women's varsity teams of any school in the nation.
It is tempting for a university to spend big bucks on lucrative, high-profile men's sports. Harvard's athletic department should be commended for emphasizing widespread participation in sports with smaller national followings, a tradition that newly appointed Athletic Director William J. Cleary '56 has promised to continue.
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