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Upsetting the Historic Rival: Harvard Women’s Lacrosse Downs the Bulldogs 10-9

Then-senior Hannah Keating fires a shot on net against Cornell on February 29, 2020.
Then-senior Hannah Keating fires a shot on net against Cornell on February 29, 2020. By Brendan J. Chapuis
By Hannah Bebar, Crimson Staff Writer

This weekend, the historic Harvard-Yale clash ended with an emphatic Crimson victory in a game that did not disappoint. The Bulldogs and the Crimson both came into this matchup with five wins in their last six games, making this a pivotal match for both sides.

Saturday was a back and forth affair that left the two teams even after three quarters of play. However, the Crimson broke away in the fourth with an early goal by freshman midfielder Charlotte Hodgson and the go-ahead goal by leading goal-scorer Callie Hem to seal the deal at 10-9.

The game began with an energized Crimson attack led by sophomore midfielder Caroline Mullahy, who notched the first goal of the game as the start of a standout performance. Mullahy would go on to notch four assists to complement her goal and earn herself the honor of Ivy League Attacker of the Week. Junior goalkeeper Chloe Provenzano quickly stifled an explosive Yale attempt on goal shortly after Mullahy’s tally, keeping Yale off the scoreboard. However, an early yellow card to freshman Despina Giannakopoulous proved too much to keep Yale from tying the game and then taking a one-goal lead with five minutes left in the first quarter.

However, with crafty work from Mullahy and vision for the darting run of freshman Hannah Shiels, the Crimson tied the game 2-2 with just ten seconds left in the first quarter.

“‘Assisting’ is my favorite part of the game,” Mullahy emphasized. “You are working together as an offense and it is so exciting when it pays off and to see in that game that every single person was a contributor.”

The second quarter was a back-and-forth frenzy with goal-scoring leaders and junior attackers Riley Campbell and Callie Hem creating an attack that left this quarter tied 5-5. The Crimson started its second quarter with junior Maddie Barkate dashing through the Bulldog’s defense to make her mark on the scoresheet. She continued to battle for control off of the draw, displaying her versatility and excellent form this season.

The Bulldogs proved to be a threat defensively, with big saves by Yale’s sophomore goalkeeper Cami Donadio stopping multiple attempts by Shiels early in the quarter. Yale took the momentum from these plays and converted on two free position shots to put them in the lead by one with nine to go in the quarter. Not long after falling behind, the Crimson bounded back with great build up play, starting with senior captain and standout defenseman Shea Jenkins finding junior midfielder Charley Meier, who connected with Mullahy before a classic Hem finish. A goal for each side brought the score even at 5-5 into half.

Coach Devon Wills spoke to the level of connection and chemistry that built such a successful attack throughout the first half and continued for the full 60 minutes.

“Our transition game is something that we try to practice a lot and it is an area that we think can be a strength of ours in terms of our speed and vision that both Maddie Barkate and Caroline Mullahy have,” Wills stated.

“I think the attackers figured out their timing. It’s been nice to see the connection and presence of mind letting the play come to us rather than trying to rush it and finding the right opportunity, not necessarily the first opportunity,” Wills added.

The Crimson led the charge into the third quarter with a quick goal by Shiels. The lead was fleeting as the Yale offense scored two goals off of quick play and a free position shot. Mullahy notched one of her four assists on the game to find Hodgson, who quickly went to her left hand to tie the game 7-7. Provenzano denied two strong shots with under five minutes to go in the third quarter, keeping the score tied.

“Chloe [Provenzano] saved us a couple of times. She had some really key saves and rebound saves. I think she really stepped up and is someone that is always consistent that we can trust,” Wills stated.

Then-junior attacker Madison Conklin looks for an opening on offense against Cornell on February 29, 2020.
Then-junior attacker Madison Conklin looks for an opening on offense against Cornell on February 29, 2020. By Brendan J. Chapuis

The third period ended tied 8-8 with a goal by junior midfielder Illana Kofman, who is continuing her stellar form after her thrilling overtime game winner at Cornell the previous week. The momentum rolled with the Crimson into the final quarter, where the team banded together to pull off the win. According to Mullahy, it was the energy at the end of the third that was the turning point in the course of the game.

“Our team is really good with energy, so for us it was just maintaining that energy for the full 60 minutes. When it came to game time, it was about trusting what we know and what we practiced during the week. So heading into the game the nerves were high but we were super excited as a team. During the game, our energy was through the roof through all four quarters,” Mullahy emphasized.

The Crimson led straight out of the gates in the fourth quarter after taking advantage of an early yellow card called against Yale, with Hodgson tallying her 17th goal of the season. Callie Hem followed shortly after with her 36th goal of the season, which proved to be the game-winner.

In the fourth, the Crimson defense came up big, with defensive work by sophomore midfielder Grace Taylor working to earn a game-high of six ground balls. The Crimson kept the Bulldogs to one goal with stellar saves by Provenzano and ruthless defending, and Harvard held on for a 10-9 win.

“We played that game like we knew we were going to win – all of our hard work paid off. These past two wins have given us the confidence and energy to go into the next two games. We know that we are capable of making it far,” Mullahy stated.

“Columbia is going to be huge, just like every Ivy League game. We need to win each game one at a time and next up is Columbia so that is all we have to focus on,” Wills concluded.

Next up, Harvard welcomes Columbia this weekend to Jordan Field at 2:00 p.m. It will be streamed on ESPN+.

— Staff writer Hannah Bebar can be reached at hannah.bebar@thecrimson.com

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