With two sharpshooting lacrosse teams, it all came down to draw controls and ground balls.
Such was the lesson the Harvard women’s lacrosse team (2-10, 1-4 Ivy) learned as it fell at No. 18 Boston College (10-6, 3-2 ACC) on Wednesday afternoon, 13-12.
“When you’re being efficient with your shots you really need to come up with the draw and you need to limit your turnovers,” coach Lisa Miller said. “I thought both teams did a good job of that today.”
A grand total of 16 draw controls by the Crimson squad wasn’t quite enough to fend off a powerful Eagles attack unit, led by sophomore Covie Stanwick.
“The transition game was good,” Miller said. “We were really sticking our nose in and fighting it out for the ground balls and the draw controls.”
Stanwick, who is the seventh of her eight siblings to play Division One lacrosse, tied her career record with a game-high six goals. She has 51 goals this season.
“They’re crafty and they’re smart,” said Miller of the Stanwick family. “If you’re a little bit late, you miss a switch, you’re not quite on their angle, because it’s just in their blood and in their family, and they take advantage. If you play with someone like that everyone else tends to get a little bit sneakier.”
Harvard found its own offensive power in senior Nina Kucharczyk. Kucharczyk’s last second heroics nearly allowed the Crimson to tie the contest at 13-all. The midfielder had a team-high four goals, three unassisted and one off a free position attempt.
“I thought Nina started going to the cage really hard and we were moving a little bit faster off the ball to give her a little bit more room,” Miller said. “Overall, I thought it was a good effort on both sides of the ball.”
Kucharczyk often found herself closing the gap. Her first score, which came with just under four minutes left in the first half, tied the game 5-5, and her second brought the Crimson within one midway through the second frame, 9-8.
With two minutes left in the contest, Harvard was down three, 13-10, with possession in BC’s offensive zone. A foul on Eagles sophomore Mikaela Rix set up the Crimson attack unit for success, and Kucharczyk drilled the ball into the goal past BC goaltender Emily Mata.
Not even a minute later, the Harvard offense yet again controlled the ball, and Kucharczyk again found the back of the net. With just 42 seconds left to tick away in the game the score was 13-12.
With a man advantage from a yellow card on BC junior Moira Barry, junior midfielder Lauren Tomkinson secured a draw control that yet again allowed Kucharczyk to find the ball with hopes of tying the contest. This time would be different, however. Kucharczyk’s shot went wide of the post, and the Eagles took possession to sneak away with a win.
“Nina’s just so athletic and so fast,” captain Micaela Cyr said. “She can take pretty much anyone. She was getting open looks today and she was putting them away.”
Cyr, who is a midfielder, completed a hat trick herself with three goals, along with one assist, one ground ball and four draw controls.
Both the Crimson and the Eagles proved effective at moving the ball across the field, with Harvard perfect on all seven clear attempts and the Eagles failing at just one of eight tries.
“We’ve been working on the clear the entire year,” Cyr said. “I think we’ve been getting better at it. The past few games it’s definitely showing up now…. We’re just being more patient, being smarter about where we’re passing, and getting one turn out of the double.”
The loss is the sixth straight for the Crimson squad, which has just two games left in the regular season.
—Staff writer Cordelia Mendez can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter @CrimsonCordelia.
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