Coming out of halftime down by four to Dartmouth with a share of the Ivy League championship on the line, it seemed as if the Harvard women’s lacrosse team was poised to make a comeback.
Just 95 seconds into the second period, Crimson sophomore Jennifer VanderMeulen took a pass from junior tri-captain Melanie Baskind and beat the Big Green goalkeeper to bring Harvard within three, 8-5.
But the Crimson’s comeback attempt was stifled as quickly as it began. Dartmouth dominated the next 16 minutes of play, using a 6-1 run to build an insurmountable 14-6 lead.
Harvard found the back of the net once more before the final whistle, but it was not nearly enough, as the visiting Crimson (9-5, 5-2) fell, 14-7, to the Big Green (10-3, 6-1) Friday night at Scully-Fahey Field.
“Dartmouth came out strong and is obviously a good team,” VanderMeulen said. “We were a little flat and didn’t quite play our game.”
The loss dropped Harvard into a tie for third place with Princeton in the Ancient Eight standings. Meanwhile, the win propelled Dartmouth to a tie atop the standings with Penn and a share of the program’s 11th Ivy League title.
While the Crimson failed to capitalize on the opportunity to earn its first conference championship since 1993, Harvard’s season is far from over.
The Crimson will travel to Penn’s Franklin Field this coming weekend to participate in the four-team Ivy League tournament, with the winner earning the Ancient Eight’s automatic bid to the NCAA tournament. The third-seeded Harvard squad will meet a familiar opponent in Friday’s semifinal matchup—No. 2 Dartmouth.
When the Crimson meets the Big Green again next weekend, Harvard hopes it can improve on its early-game performance.
In Friday’s contest, the Crimson fell behind quickly, going down by as many as five goals in the first half.
Dartmouth’s Courtney Bennet drew first blood, notching the first of her three goals of the night just 68 seconds into the contest.
Harvard had a number of opportunities to even the score in the early going, but two saves by rookie Big Green goalie Kristen Giovanniello and a pair of errant shot attempts kept the Crimson off the board.
After falling behind 2-0, Harvard finally found the back of the net 10 minutes into the contest thanks to a score from junior Jess Halpern.
But Dartmouth won the ensuing draw control and pushed its lead back up to two with a score from Kat Collins off a pass from Greta Meyer.
It didn’t take long for the Big Green to light up the scoreboard again. This time, Meyer did it herself, scoring off a free-position shot 35 seconds later that put Dartmouth ahead, 4-1, and forced Harvard coach Lisa Miller to burn an early timeout.