A week ago, the Harvard women’s lacrosse team managed just five goals against No. 7 Princeton. This Saturday, the Crimson’s attack matched that total in the first 12 minutes of its matchup against Brown.
The first five Harvard scores came from just seven shots, and the Crimson maintained that offensive efficiency throughout the contest. Harvard (8-5, 4-1 Ivy League) would convert nearly half of its 40 attempts throughout the game as it decisively beat Brown (4-8, 0-5 Ivy), 19-12, in Providence, R.I.
The Crimson not only eclipsed its conversion rate of 19 percent from its matchup against the Tigers last week, but also held on to a vital top-four spot in the Ancient Eight. The victory sees Harvard remain in third place in the conference, while the Bears keep their last-place position in the Ivy League.
“I think we did a good job switching up personnel to try new things in the game,” senior attacker Marisa Romeo said. “Lots of people stepped up and performed roles they don't usually do. We fixed things that weren't working early on and continued to put pressure on them all game.”
The Crimson looked like a completely different team from the one that faced Princeton last weekend. In addition to more than doubling its efficiency, Harvard also capitalized on all four of its free position opportunities. The Crimson dominated ground balls as well, scooping up 20 to Brown’s eight.
Harvard’s 37 fouls against the Bears actually outnumbered the team’s infractions against Princeton. Nonetheless, the Crimson did not draw a single yellow card on Saturday, a marked contrast to the six it garnered last weekend.
However, despite the outcome and Harvard’s statistical superiority, Brown had the momentum for stretches of the game. In a trend that has repeated itself all season, the Crimson took a sizeable lead early on only to see its opponent steam back with a string of unanswered goals.
With just under seven minutes remaining in the first half, Harvard held a 9-4 advantage. Junior midfielder Julia Glynn had kicked play off with a free position shot before the Bears put away two quick goals in 60 seconds.
Tri-captain attacker Maeve McMahon restored equilibrium with her 22nd goal of the campaign, but it took Brown just 15 seconds to regain the lead.
The Crimson refused to stay behind, though. Tri-captain midfielder Megan Hennessey, sophomore midfielder Keeley MacAfee, sophomore attacker Nicole Baiocco, and junior attacker Eliza Guild each found the back of the net, while the Bears got a goal back, as Harvard tore into the lead with a 7-1 run.
Romeo supplied the other three goals to round out the streak. The senior could not be stopped, punching home all three finishes in a four-minute stretch to complete her 10th hat trick of the season within the first quarter of the game.
On the back of its strong attacking play, the Crimson had turned a 3-2 deficit into a five-goal advantage, and Harvard seemingly had a monopoly on the momentum of the contest.
Brown, however, would not be counted out. The Bears suddenly found a new gear in the closing minutes of the half, scoring four goals in the same number of minutes without a Harvard response to cut the Crimson’s lead to a single point.
Harvard did not fold under the pressure, as it has before this season. Instead, with Brown nipping at its heels, the Crimson responded with a 10-2 run to put the game to bed.
“The team played with energy and enthusiasm and, most importantly, responded to Brown's surge with a run of our own,” head coach Lisa Miller said. “[It was] a good team effort.”
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