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In the penultimate game of its 2023 regular season, Harvard women’s lacrosse left nothing on the table. The Crimson defeated Columbia 19-4 with nine different goal-scorers. The dynamic duo of junior attackers Callie Hem and Riley Campbell led the pack with five and four goals, respectively.
This win was not just monumental because of the Crimson’s stellar performance, but because it celebrated its senior players. Nine seniors stepped onto Jordan Field on Saturday in celebration of four years of dedication and commitment to the women’s lacrosse program. On a day filled with celebration, senior Grace Hulslander reflected on her invaluable time as a part of this team.
“To me the fact that this day had finally come for myself and I was finally the person walking down the tunnel was honestly unreal. I couldn't believe it was me and my time,” Huslander reflected. “It really was a full circle moment. It was full of so much happiness and joy.”
Hulslander’s year was cut short after a season-ending injury in the Crimson’s first game against Michigan. As a member of the 2022 All-Ivy First-Team, she has found a way to contribute her knowledge and expertise to her team embracing her new role.
“I think coming into this year and being a super senior, I knew that this team is special. Having so many ups and downs, I knew my injury was really just another piece of adversity in my life [and] it was all about how I responded,” Huslander said.
“I’ve really thought about what I can do to help the girls on the field succeed, whether it’s score more goals or even make a defensive stop,” she continued. “I’m so proud of the team and where they’ve gone. I’m so excited to see what they are going to do this weekend.”
Hulslander continued to speak on not only making an impact on her team, but the greater lacrosse community and women’s sports more generally.
“I’ve always been trying to empower and inspire younger girls through women’s lacrosse. This is not only for the team and the season but for the program for years to come —I’ve always wanted to be a part of creating something special here at Harvard,” Hulslander stated.
For this day in particular, senior midfielder Stephanie Hong had much to celebrate. The senior from Bethesda, Maryland was not only met by a fierce Lvy league opponent on Saturday, but her younger sister, Columbia’s first-year midfielder Serena Hong. It was a day for her to not only celebrate Harvard women’s lacrosse, but to be joined by her family in honoring her last year of lacrosse.
“I overlapped with [Serena] one year in high school and that was the best year getting to play with my sister —having her here on my senior day was the best feeling [I] could have,” Hong said.
What made the day more meaningful for Hong was the growth of the program this year and collective dedication the group has had in the past four years.
“The team this year is the closest it has ever been, which is so exciting. We have grown so much this year,” she said. “I would not change where we were or where we started because I think the way that we have grown made this season feel so much more special and meaningful.”
The Crimson walked away with full hearts and much appreciation for its nine seniors. However, its work on the season is not quite finished – Harvard will travel to Princeton to play the Tigers in its last regular season game, which will determine its fate in the Ivy League Tournament. With a win against the Tigers, the Crimson will most likely get the No. 2 seed. Tune in on Sunday on ESPN+ at 12:00pm to catch the action.
-Staff writer Hannah Bebar can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
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