NEWTON, Mass.--Yesterday at Boston College, the Harvard women's lacrosse team's offense took part of the afternoon off. The defense made sure that it didn't matter.
Co-captain goaltender Shana Barghouti made six saves and held the Eagles scoreless in the second half as the Crimson won by a semi-comfortable, 7-3 margin in its season-opener.
It was the fourth straight season that Harvard (1-0, 0-0 Ivy) has opened with a win against B.C., but it was also the second consecutive year that the Crimson held a slim 4-3 advantage at halftime. This time around, Harvard was fortunate to have even that, as junior midfielder Keren Gudeman scored on a free position shot with fewer than 20 ticks left on the clock to give her team the lead.
The Crimson came out strong in the second half, scoring two goals in a two-minute span to gain a 6-3 advantage.
Three goals is not a huge margin in lacrosse, but Harvard's defense ensured that it was more than enough.
"Most of our defense is returning [from last season]. It's a very solid defense," said senior Chris Short-sleeve, who led all players with three goals. "It's been pretty much the same for three years. And of course, Shana always plays well."
Harvard needed Barghouti and her defenders yesterday, in the first half especially. The Crimson fell behind by 1-0 and 2-1 margins before shortsleeve and junior Honor Mac-Noughton scored back-to-back goals.
But those two goals were the exceptions rather than the rule. The Crimson's offense is very young and inexperienced, and throughout the first 30 minutes, Harvard's shots were either easily saved or off the mark.
"We had terrible shot selection," said co-captain Daphne Clark. "I don't think that we were utilizing our fast break well. When we got settled, we'd panic and take shots, and those weren't the shots that we want to take."
What turned out to be the difference was the number of free positions the Crimson had. Harvard tallied four times on those shots, two in each half.
"That's because we were one-on-one a lot," Shortsleeve said. "We drive a lot, and a team that has bad defense [will foul us]."
The two first goals of the second half were both free positions, scored by junior Holly Rogers and Short sleeve, respectively.
Freshman Jeanne Ficociello knocked home the final tally with about 15 minutes to play.
The Crimson started four first-year players and one new transfer student, sophomore Claudia Asano, who came over from B.C. On the whole, the fresh faces did well--Ficociello had a goal, and midfielder Genevieve Grandison picked up five ground balls. The other starters included freshman attacker Kim Weeks and freshman defender Annie Johnson.
Harvard's next game is Saturday afternoon against UMass at a place to be determined.
If the weather holds up, it will be at 1 p.m. at Ohiri Field; if not, it will be moved to B.U.'s Nickerson Field at noon.... Yesterday was Harvard's lowest goal output in a victory since a 6-5 overtime win over Loyola in 1995.
G: Harvard--Shortsleeve (3), MacNaughton, Rodgers, Gudeman, Ficociello; BC--Wood, Berkerey, Margetis A: Harvard--MacNaughton, Gudeman.