Ready to pick up where it left off after defeating Dartmouth, 17-9, last weekend, the Harvard women’s lacrosse team (7-3, 3-1 Ivy) secured its second Ivy League victory in a row with an 8-2 win over Brown (4-6, 0-4) on Saturday at Harvard Stadium.
The Crimson defense played a pivotal role in the victory. Holding the Bears scoreless for all but five minutes of the game, Harvard’s formidable defenders only allowed Brown to find the net twice during the game. The defensive effort was led by a strong showing from co-captain and goalie Kelly Weis, who recorded seven stops. The senior turned away four free position shots on the way to the win.
It has been 22 years since the Crimson kept an Ancient Eight opponent to only two goals. Harvard last achieved the feat when it defeated the University of Pennsylvania 7-2 in March of 1994. Next weekend, the Crimson will play the No. 16 Quakers in its first Ivy League contest away from Harvard Stadium in over a month.
Despite playing on Harvard’s home turf, the Bears controlled the pace of the game in the first half. In the opening period of the game, Brown recorded four draw control wins while the Crimson had zero.
“Coming into the game, we expected Brown might try to slow down the pace of play, and that’s exactly what they did,” co-captain and midfielder Audrey Todd said.
However, Harvard’s potent offense eventually made its mark, when Todd scored the only early goal of the game at 25:35 off a feed from sophomore midfielder Julia Glynn, who sprinted through the Brown defense all the way from the 50-yard line to set up the goal from behind the cage. Over 25 minutes later, Glynn scored the game’s second goal with five seconds remaining in the half, giving Harvard a 2-0 lead going into halftime.
Brown had opportunities to score in the first half but failed to capitalize on them, going zero for four in free position shots. The Bears also outshot the Crimson, 19-18, on a day that saw them lead statistically despite coming away with the loss. Brown finished with a 9-3 advantage in draw controls, as well, with freshman midfielder Alex O’Donnell winning four.
“We played very well defensively and caused many, many turnovers,” Todd said. “Early on, we were just struggling to find the back of the net on the attacking side of the ball – hence the low score.”
The Crimson found its offensive stride in the second half, and senior midfielder Alexis Nicolia paced Harvard with her second hat trick of the season. Nicolia helped settle the Crimson attack with back-to-back goals at 15:21 and 11:40.
“We kept plugging away, and once we were able to string together a couple of goals in the second half, we found our groove,” Todd said.
After being held scoreless by Harvard for 55 minutes, Brown finally broke through when junior midfielder Jillian Lee scored her her 11th goal of the season and the Bears’ first goal of the game at 5:43. The Crimson answered with four shots, another from Todd, two from junior attacker Maeve McMahon, and a final effort from Nicolia.
“Offensively, everyone chipped in to our success,” Todd said. “It was not so much one or two standout performances as it was a collective team effort.”
Securing the win against Brown was crucial for the Crimson’s push to secure a spot at the Ivy League tournament. With only the top four teams in the league qualifying, this weekend’s result buys Harvard some breathing room. The Crimson is now sitting in third place in the Ancient Eight standings, with No. 20 Cornell and No. 11 Princeton in first and second, respectively.
"I think yesterday was a really great win for the team,” junior defender Emma Ford said. “Every Ivy game is really important and takes us one step closer to the league tournament"
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