A number of times this season, the Harvard women’s lacrosse team has been on the wrong end of comebacks. The Crimson surrendered a four-goal lead late in its game against Stanford in March and weathered a late push from Dartmouth earlier this month.
On Saturday, it was Harvard’s turn to mount a comeback attempt at the end of a contest. After No. 10 Pennsylvania (12-2, 5-1 Ivy League) held the Crimson (8-6, 4-2 Ivy) scoreless for two-thirds of the second period, Harvard exploded for four goals in eight minutes, including two in the final 30 seconds of the matchup.
The team’s efforts would not be enough, though, as the Crimson’s hopes of stealing a win were derailed by foul trouble and the opposition’s staunch defense. In the end, the Quakers held on for the victory at Harvard Stadium, edging out Harvard, 13-10.
“I thought we hustled really hard today and played with a lot of emotion,” tri-captain attacker Maeve McMahon said.
With nine minutes left to play in the game, the Crimson found itself down by five goals to Penn. Harvard had kicked off the second half with a quick goal to take the lead, as sophomore midfielder Keeley MacAfee found the back of the net less than a minute into the period. Her finish handed the Crimson a 6-5 advantage.
However, the Harvard lead would last less than 30 seconds. Quakers junior midfielder Alex Condon netted the second of her game-high four goals with 28:39 remaining in the second half to level the score at six apiece.
Condon would go on to complete her hat trick just over a minute later, handing Penn the lead that it would not relinquish for the remainder of the game. The junior midfielder’s third goal on the night would kick off a 5-0 run for the Quakers.
By the 10:45 mark in the closing half, Penn had turned a one-goal deficit into an 11-6 advantage, and the game looked to be all but over for the Crimson.
The Quakers’ potent offense, highlighted by Condon’s four goals along with the three scores and two assists for senior attacker Emily Rogers-Healion, played a crucial role in securing Penn’s five-goal lead.
However, the Quakers defensive unit was even more instrumental. Penn entered the contest with the fourth-best scoring defense in the nation and the top goals-against average in the Ancient Eight.
Quakers senior goalie Britt Brown was critical to her team’s defensive success. Although the Crimson fired off the same number of shots as Penn over the course of the game, Brown’s 13 stops helped the Quakers hold on for the win. The senior netminder is ranked second in the country for save percentage (55.8%) and fourth nationwide for goals-against average (7.55).
Despite Penn’s stifling defense, Harvard finally managed to break through with a goal from freshman midfielder Katie Muldoon after the Quakers kept the Crimson off the board for 20 minutes of the second period.
Muldoon’s finish narrowed the margin to four, and although Rogers-Healion picked up two goals before the final whistle, the momentum was with Harvard in the closing minutes of the game.
MacAfee picked up a second goal with three and a half minutes left on the clock, and both she and senior attacker Marisa Romeo would complete their hat tricks in the final 30 seconds of the contest. First, Romeo beat a defender with a roll dodge before slotting a shot into the top of the net for her third score of the game, before MacAfee completed her hat trick on a free position conversion with 22 seconds remaining.
The first half was a different story entirely. Harvard started the game firing on all cylinders, and by the sixth minute of the contest, the Crimson was leading, 4-0.
Women's Lacrosse Fails to Complete Comeback at PennThe Crimson trailed for nearly three-quarters of the contest and could not overcome the deficit, falling, 8-7, to the Quakers in Philadelphia this Saturday.
Penn Edges Men's Lacrosse in Weekend MatchupThe Crimson came close to beating the Quakers, but one goal made the difference in the game.
Women's Lacrosse Pulls Away from Ohio StateIn an afternoon matinee at Jordan Field, the Crimson defeated Ohio State with an emphatic 13-7 victory. The win was the third straight for a Harvard team that has won four of its first five games for the second consecutive season.
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