Photo oh junior attacker Jess Halpern courtesy of David Silverman Photography.
The Harvard women's lacrosse team opens the 2011 season on the West Coast against No. 6 Stanford Sunday in Palo Alto, Calif. Game time is slated for 3 p.m. (EST).
Scouting the Crimson
A very young Harvard squad takes the field this weekend. The Crimson boasts 16 underclassmen, including 11 freshmen on its 24-player roster.
Five of the top-six scorers from a season ago return this season. Jennifer VanderMeulen (56g, 64p), Melanie Baskind (32g), Danielle Tetreault (20g, 10a), Micaela Cyr (19g) and Tyler Petropulos (11g) combined for 138 goals or 78 percent of the scoring effort. In addition, the Crimson welcome back Jess Halpern, the 2008 Ivy League Rookie of the Year and first-team All-Ivy League recipient, after missing last spring due to an early season injury. Halpern led the Ancient Eight in goals (2.88) and points per game (3.44) in her second season with the Crimson in 2009.
Scouting the Cardinal
Stanford is 3-0 on the season with two wins against top-10 opponents. The Cardinal opened the season with a 13-12 win over then-No. 10 Notre Dame. Following a 21-4 rout of Fresno State, Stanford knocked off No. 5 Syracuse, 11-10, last Sunday.
Emilie Boeri paces the team in scoring with eight goals and three assists for 11 points thus far. Sarah Flynn has also found the back of the net eight times, while Leslie Ford is second in total points with six goals and four helpers for 10 points.
Annie Read has held down the goaltending duties for the Cardinal and sports a 9.60 goals-against average and .442 save percentage. She has 19 saves to her credit and has earned all three wins.
Sunday's meeting will be fourth in program history. The Crimson holds a 2-1 advantage in the series, but the Cardinal earned the last victory a 10-6 win over the Crimson March 23,2003 in Palo Alto. Harvard's two wins took place at a neutral site.
O' Captain, My Captain
Senior Sam McMahon and juniors Melanie Baskind and Tyler Petropulos were elected captains for the 2011 season. It's the fifth time in program history three players have been selected to lead the team and only the second since 1999.
Multi Sports Stars
Several Harvard players also moonlight on fall sports teams. Melanie Baskind is a member of the women's soccer team. She was the Ivy League Rookie of the Year in 2008 and has earned second-team (2009) and first-team (2010) All-Ivy League honors as well. She was an ESPN The Magazine Academic All-America second team selection last fall.
Tough Road Ahead
Stanford is the first of several nationally ranked teams on the Crimson's docket this spring. Six teams on Harvard's schedule appear in this week's Inside Lacrosse poll: No. 6 Stanford, No. 7 Penn (March 12), No. 12 Virginia (April 3), No. 14 Dartmouth (April 29), No. 16 Boston College (March 17) and No. 19 Princeton (April 16).
Home Sweet Home
Harvard will play its home games at the new Soldiers Field Soccer/Lacrosse Stadium and Harvard Stadium. Soldiers Field was unveiled in the fall of 2010 and is one of the premier lacrosse and soccer facilities in the Northeast. Features seating capacity of up to 2,500 fans, including permanent bleachers which seat 1,000 spectators, as well as additional space for standing room only sections. Soldiers Field Soccer/Lacrosse Stadium also has a permanent press box and lights, which allow for games to be played at night. The Crimson is slated to play its first two home games of the season there before moving to Harvard Stadium.
Harvard remains on the road for its Ivy League contest against Cornell March 5. Harvard faces the Big Red at 1 p.m. in Ithaca, N.Y.