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By Elijah M. Alper, Crimson Staff Writer

They were complete equals for 55 minutes. But the first five minutes made all the difference.

The Harvard women’s lacrosse team’s quest for an improved Ivy season got off to a rocky start in Providence last night, as the Crimson fell behind early and could not quite catch up to Brown, losing 7-5 in the conference opener for both teams. Harvard (1-3, 0-1 Ivy) could not duplicate last year’s thrilling 11-10 overtime victory over the Bears.

It was the first win of the season for Brown (1-2, 1-0), although the Bears did open their season against two ranked opponents. Still, with games against much tougher Ivy foes looming ahead, last night’s match was one the Crimson thought it should have taken.

“Brown’s a particularly tough loss to start off with because we are so evenly matched,” said co-captain Leslie Moroz.  It’s one of those games that just comes down to ‘fight’.”

Brown jumped in front early, taking a 2-0 lead in the first six minutes of play. Harvard responded quickly, closing to within one on a tally by sophomore Casey Owens just at 7:28 of the first half. Yet the Crimson could not knot the score before Brown again extended its lead to two goals.

That would be the story of the night. Harvard closed the gap to one, but failed to net the equalizer as the Bears would once again extend their lead. It was a contrast of styles—with the Crimson using their quickness to counteract Brown’s physical play—but neither tempo had the advantage.

The teams traded the final 10 goals of the game, with Brown icing the contest with a score at 27:09 of the second half. Playing down 6-5, Harvard had 12 minutes to tie the score one last time, but could not convert on its chances.

“We were having trouble finishing and generating the right kinds of shots,” Moroz said. “We didn’t always have the right ball handlers with the ball at the right time at the crucial moment.”

Harvard heads for warmer climates this weekend, as it travels to California to take on St. Mary’s, Cal and No. 18 Stanford. The Crimson won’t return to Jordan Field until April 5, when it hosts No. 13 Yale.

—Staff writer Elijah M. Alper can be reached at alper@fas.harvard.edu.

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