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The Harvard women’s lacrosse team (7-7, 3-3 Ivy League) came up with a decisive 12-1 victory against UMass Lowell (0-16) on its home turf Tuesday night to even its record to .500 heading into the end of regular season play. Capitalizing on an 8-0 run that spanned well into the second half, the Crimson showed the River Hawk squad it has a lot to learn in its inaugural season.
Nine Harvard players found the back of the net, demonstrating the team’s versatility against the less experienced UMass Lowell offense. The scoring was led by junior co-captain midfielder Audrey Todd and freshman midfielders Julia Glynn and Eliza Guild, who all two goals apiece.
“We were all challenging hard to cage, moving the ball quickly, looking for cutters and working for good opportunities,” Todd said. “We played as a unit and stayed in structure and that allowed everyone to be a threat and get involved.”
The River Hawks’ lone goal came midway through the second period, when freshman attack Jesse Jay fed to fellow freshman midfielder Taylor Sokol. UMass Lowell only registered seven shots for the game, four of which were on goal. Harvard, on the other hand, registered 39 shots throughout the match.
“I think we head into every game with a similar mindset,” Todd said. “We never go in thinking we are better or worse than our opponent, just that we are as good as them. Then, when the game starts, we try to set the tempo from the get-go and prove we are there to play. If we manage to get a big lead, like we did today, then we try and work on some things and use the game as an opportunity to get better.”
The Crimson edged out the River Hawks in most areas of the box score, winning the ground ball battle, 26-18, while committing 13 fewer turnovers. Sophomore defender Marina Burke led the defensive end with a team-high five caused turnovers, while junior co-captain defender Tory Waldstein chipped in three of her own.
In addition to leading the team in ground balls, with five each, the defenders also tallied the final two goals of the match. In the final four minutes, Burke recorded her second goal of the season.
Sophomore defender Michelle Nesselbush also had a strong game on defense, picking up three ground balls and forcing a late UMass Lowell turnover.
“Going into today’s game, we definitely wanted to be really aggressive on defense,” Waldstein said. “We wanted to really pressure out and see if we could cause turnovers. We were able to cause all sorts of turnovers, mostly checks and a few interceptions.”
Despite the virtually one-sided scoring match, the two teams were neck-and-neck in draw controls, 7-7. The River Hawks had 28 turnovers, however, allowing Harvard to create more offensive opportunities.
Three Crimson goalies saw the field, with junior co-captain Kelly Weis starting the first half. Weis registered one save before freshman goalie Meredith Brown headed into the cage after halftime. Brown recorded two saves and allowed the single goal against. The other freshman goalie, Olivia Gundrum, guarded the goal for an eventless final 14 minutes of the match.
Although Harvard put up 12 goals against UMass Lowell goalie Courtney Barrett, the freshman ended the day with a .520 save percentage after stopping 13 Crimson attempts.
“There were a lot of good things coming out of this game,” Waldstein said.
The win will give Harvard momentum heading into the team’s home match against Yale Saturday
.“I think that we have improved on both sides of the ball over the course of the season,” Todd said. “Back in February and March, we had a tendency to play as individuals and that cost us a few games we maybe could have won. Now, though, we are playing as a cohesive team and that will definitely help us as we head into Saturday - and hopefully the postseason.”
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