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The Harvard women’s lacrosse team continues to struggle out of the gate. The Crimson dropped its second straight on Saturday, falling to the University of Massachusetts, 12-7, on Jordan Field.
The Crimson (0-2) held even early, trading goals with the Minutewomen (2-1) in the first five minutes before pulling ahead 2-1.
Sophomore midfielder Elaine Belitsos scored Harvard’s first two goals, the second of which appeared to put the Crimson in the driver’s seat. She would add one more before the end of the game.
But Harvard would not keep the momentum for long. Although the score remained the same for more than 13 minutes, UMass controlled the possession for much of the remainder of the half and an equalizer seemed inevitable.
“We were getting a lot of good opportunities but we weren’t finishing our shots,” said freshman defender Bridget Driscoll. “The offense was moving well, but we weren’t finishing.”
The Minutewomen finally drew even, 2-2, with just under 12 minutes remaining in the half off a free position shot which was placed just out of the reach of junior goaltender Laura Mancini.
Just 18 seconds later, off the opening draw, UMass midfielder Tracey Down gained possession and raced down the field, burying the ball in the back of the net to give the Minutewomen the lead.
Sophomore attack Casey Owens tied the score 1:04 later.
Minutewomen senior Jada Emery bookended halftime with two goals on either side, knocking Harvard down 7-3 seven minutes into the second half.
A goal from junior midfielder Jen Brooks off a pass from freshman attack Emma Millon brought the Crimson to within three, but the dent in the deficit was not enough to slow UMass.
With Harvard cheating forward slightly in an attempt to score, the Minutewomen ran through the holes in the defense and scored four straight unassisted goals to swell the lead to seven.
“If you’re down by four, it really doesn’t matter if you lose by four or 10,” Driscoll said. “We were just going after the ball and that left the middle wide open.”
Three Crimson goals in the final four minutes closed the gap but were insufficient, as Harvard fell by five.
The Crimson struggled to beat UMass keeper Cynthia Doyle, who made 12 saves on the game, including many on close-range shots.
“A few of them seemed like they were right to her,” Driscoll said. “We made her look better than she was.”
Although Harvard was only outshot by one, Doyle’s routine denial of golden opportunities kept the Crimson in check and preserved the five-goal margin of victory.
Shooting accuracy worked against Harvard as well, as 11-of-29 Crimson shots missed the target.
Additionally, Harvard struggled to capitalize on free-position opportunities, failing to convert on eight chances.
“We had some lapses on attack,” Belitsos said. “We didn’t get off as many good shots as we could have considering the opportunities we had.”
The Crimson seeks its first win of the season on Wednesday afternoon at Boston College at 3:30 p.m.
—Staff writer Timothy J. McGinn can be reached at email@example.com.
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