Revenge is a dish best served cold, and it was mighty chilly at Ohiri Field yesterday as the Harvard women's lacrosse team defeated the University of New Hampshire Wildcats, 9-6.
"Sweet revenge" is how senior co-captain and All-American goalie Sarah Leary described yesterday's game.
Battling the wind that made the day seem colder than the temperature, the Crimson avenged the two losses suffered at the hands of the Wildcats last year.
The loss most bitter was the last year's 11-10 defeat that kept the Crimson from its third straight trip to the NCAA Final Four.
Harvard senior Buffy Hansen started off the scoring with an unassisted goal with 21:47 remaining in the first half. UNH's Laura Clark evened the score with a quick goal only 30 seconds later.
Sophomore Sarah Downing put the Crimson back into the lead at 20:22, but the Wildcats' Diane McLoughlin tied it up again at 17:42 and it appeared the Crimson was in for a battle.
That is, until Harvard ripped off four straight goals. Downing scored the second of her four unassisted first half goals with 16:58 remaining to give the Crimson a lead they would never relinquish. Hansen tallied again off a pass from sophomore Francie Walton 20 short seconds later.
Junior Liz Berkery scored her first goal of the game with 11:30 remaining and then Downing scored again with 8:50 left in the half to put the Crimson ahead 6-2.
The Wildcats scored their final goal of the first half at 4:06 to close the gap to 6-3, but Downing put in her fourth goal of the half with 3:46 remaining and Berkery tallied again with 1:42 left to put the Crimson ahead 8-3 at the half.
The key to Crimson's success in the first half success was tough defense, lead by the ever-stingy senior co-captain Ceci Clark. As usual, Clark drew the task of defending the top opposing scorer, and held Wildcat senior Alita Haytayan scoreless.
"Ceci played an outstanding game," said Head Coach Carole Kleinfelder. "She contained Haytayan very well."
"Haytayan had two big games against us last year. Ceci knew going in she had to stop Haytayan, and Ceci shut her down. I'll play behind her and day of the week," said Leary.
Berkery got the second half started on a good note as she scored her second goal off a Hansen assist to put the Crimson up 9-3 with 23:56 remaining.
Never in Doubt
That was all the Crimson needed, although UNH refused to give up and scored three straight over the rest of the half to pull the game to 9-6. The outcome was never seriously in doubt, as the Crimson overcame dropped balls and a loose shoelace to run down the clock.
"It was a good win, a hard-fought emotional win. Sarah Downing had a fantastic game, and Walton and Berkery also played very well," said Kleinfelder, "although we also dropped a lot of balls and tried to force the ball into the middle too much."
"Their whole philosophy is to clog the middle, but when we had good movement it opened up, and when we didn't we turned the ball over," said Berkery. "I am happy but not satisfied. We can't overlook anyone."