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Women's Lacrosse Trounces Siena by 14 Goals

By Sam O.M. Christenfeld, Crimson Staff Writer

Last week, the Harvard women’s lacrosse team scored 14 goals in total as it hung on to beat Yale by a single point. On Saturday, 14 points was the Crimson’s margin of victory.

For the first five minutes, Harvard’s game against Siena on Saturday looked like it would be a repetition of last week’s back-and-forth contest. The Saints found the back of the Crimson net less than 30 seconds after the opening whistle, only to see Harvard equalize within a minute through a goal from junior attacker Eliza Guild. It took Siena just 44 seconds to retake the lead, but senior attacker Marisa Romeo slammed a free position shot into the top corner five minutes into the period to pull the Crimson even once again.

After Romeo’s game-tying score, the tone of the matchup changed. Harvard notched four unanswered scores in ten minutes, and by the halfway point of the first stanza, the Crimson had tallied six points—the same number that the Saints would manage for the entire game.

In the end, Harvard’s red-hot offense, ranked top-10 nationally, made sure that Saturday’s contest didn’t mirror last week’s close game. The final score was 20-6 as the Crimson (3-1, 1-0 Ivy League) routed Siena (1-4) at Harvard Stadium.

“It was an all around great team win,” tri-captain attacker Maeve McMahon said.

The four goals that put Harvard ahead for good came from the same number of players, reflecting the team-wide nature of a win in which 13 Crimson players scored.

“We had a game plan and everyone stuck to it,” junior midfielder Julia Glynn said. “No matter who was on the field, we played together, adapted to the defense, and had fun.”

Tri-captain midfielder Megan Hennessey started the Harvard scoring run with the Crimson’s third goal of the game and her third of the season. Sophomore midfielder Keeley MacAfee was up next, finishing off an assist from junior midfielder Nekele McCall, before Romeo and sophomore attacker Nicole Baiocco each converted a free position chance to hand Harvard a 6-2 lead.

The Crimson was devastatingly efficient in free position shots throughout the game, scoring on every one of its four opportunities, while Siena went two-for-six in the same category.

Harvard also topped Siena in every other attacking statistic. The Crimson picked up 17 ground balls to the Saints’ nine and won 20 of 27 draw controls over the course of the game. Harvard also fired off more than three times as many shots as its opponent, taking 44, while Siena managed 14.

The disparate shot totals reflected the Crimson’s dominance in both offense and defense.

Harvard’s attacking prowess was highlighted by Romeo and MacAfee, who combined for 12 of the Crimson’s efforts on frame. The two rank seventh and 39th in the nation, respectively, for goals per game. The pair also matched Siena’s goal total for the contest between them, with Romeo scoring four times and MacAfee finding the back of the net twice.

Harvard’s defense also put in a commanding performance, limiting Siena to just four shots in the second half, its lowest total for a single period this season.

Despite the Crimson’s strong showing on defense, the Saints managed to collect two more goals in the first stanza with a third score from Romeo in the middle to settle the game at 7-4.

Harvard made sure that it entered the break having taken back all the momentum, though. The Crimson scored five unanswered goals in the final seven minutes of the half to close out the opening stanza with an eight-point lead.

McMahon kicked off the scoring run with a pair of finishes, converting a lobbed assist from sophomore midfielder Caroline Garrity and then beating a defender with a spin dodge and sneaking an underhanded shot past the Siena goalie.

Glynn added to the scoring, finishing off of a pass from MacAfee with 1:08 left in the half to extend Harvard’s margin to six points.

MacAfee would get her second goal of the night with just 16 seconds left on the clock—but not before senior defender Marina Burke cut in front of goal and found the back of the net from close range.

The Crimson showed no signs of slowing down after the restart, pulling even further away from the Saints with six goals in a row.

Glynn and Guild would each pick up a second score of the game in the second half, and junior attacker Caroline Ashford got in on the act, smashing home a shot from close range. Sophomore midfielder Ali Thaler also collected up her first goal of the year, and freshman Katie Muldoon midfielder Katie Muldoon continued a strong rookie season, picking out the top corner from distance.

Romeo rounded out the scoring run, picking up her fourth goal of the game and 14th of the season. This weekend’s contest marked the third time in four games this year that the senior has scored four or more goals.

Siena picked up two quick goals at the end of the second period to bring the score to 18-6.

It fell to two freshmen to crush any chance of a Saints comeback and put the game to bed, after the bulk of the scoring on the day came from upperclassmen.

First, rookie attacker Julia DiNovi beat a defender with a feint before finding the bottom corner of the net. Not to be outdone, classmate and midfielder Bridget Flynn outpaced a Siena player and slammed an overhand shot past the Saints goalie with 17 seconds remaining in the game to seal the 14-score difference.

“I think the team played great today,” Romeo said. “It was a great team win, and everyone contributed. We are really excited coming off of this win and going into our big game versus Ohio State on Monday.”

—Staff writer Sam O.M. Christenfeld can be reached at sam.christenfeld@thecrimson.com.

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