Hoping to earn a spot in the four-team Ivy League tournament at season’s end, the Harvard women’s lacrosse team took a step in the wrong direction Saturday morning, falling into the fifth spot in the conference standings.
Squaring off against conference-rival Yale (4-6, 1-2 Ivy) at Reese Stadium, the Crimson (4-4, 1-2 Ivy) was unable to recover from a nine-goal halftime deficit despite a late comeback, dropping the contest, 17-13.
“It’s kind of becoming a trend with the rough starts we have had the past couple of games,” sophomore Melanie Baskind said. “We got the first couple draws and then had trouble responding when they started scoring.”
Freshmen Jennifer VanderMeulen and Danielle Tetreault helped narrow the gap to three with less than three minutes to go, netting a combined seven second-half tallies. But the Bulldogs kept the Crimson off the scoreboard over the final 2:51, preserving the win.
After failing to force a turnover in the first half of play, the Harvard defense came alive in the final period, forcing the Bulldogs to cough up the ball five times. The Crimson offense capitalized on the extra possessions, netting 11 of its 13 tallies over just 20 minutes of play.
“We started playing with more heart and intensity,” Tetreault said. “We became more aggressive.”
Tetreault sparked the comeback, using a free position shot seven minutes into the second half to end a 9-0 Yale run.
Just over a minute later, Tetreault found co-captain Sara Flood open for a goal, putting the score at 13-4. VanderMeulen followed with her second of five tallies in the contest, going unassisted to the cage.
“[VanderMeulen’s] one of our most consistent players,” Tetreault said. “The Ivy teams are looking out for her, but she’s still able to capitalize on the opportunities she gets.”
Tetreault brought the deficit to seven with an unassisted score 1:03 later.
But Harvard’s offense went cold, failing to light up the scoreboard over nearly 10 minutes of play. To make matters worse for the visitors, Yale freshman Devon Rhodes notched three of her game-high eight goals over the next five minutes, putting her team up, 16-9, with 4:39 left.
The Crimson rattled off four straight scores to get within three, but its initial deficit was too much to overcome, as the score stood at 17-13 when the final buzzer sounded.
“The first half was a little weak,” Tetreault said. “I think we built off of it in the second, but we had already dug ourselves too deep of a hole to get out of.”
The Bulldogs got off to a hot start, striking first off a free position shot from Jenna Block 2:39 into the contest. Harvard’s Baskind answered minutes later to even it at one.
But Yale went on a 3-0 run behind a free position shot from Kaitlyn Flatley and two assists from Block to take control, 4-1.