Photo courtesy of GIl Talbot.
The No. 19 Harvard women's lacrosse team travels to No. 14 Dartmouth for a chance to win its 13th Ivy League title Friday night. The winner of Friday night's contest will share the Ancient Eight crown with Penn and earn the second seed in the Ivy League Tournament.
Scouting the Crimson
Harvard is 9-4 overall after winning seven of its last eight and five in a row. Thirteen Crimson players have found the back of the net for a team that averages 12.85 goals per game. Jennifer VanderMeulen paces the offense with 42 goals and five assists for 47 points. Danielle Tetreault (35g, 6a), Jess Halpern (25g, 1a) and Melanie Baskind (24g, 5a), have been scoring threats for the Crimson, which leads the Ivy League and is 24th in the nation in scoring offense.
Tetreault leads the team and is second in the Ivy League in draw controls with 24, while Baskind leads the team with 29 ground balls. Ellen Gleason paces the Crimson with 14 caused turnovers. Kerry Clark has made 77 saves in the cage and sports a 9.85 goals-against average.
Last Time Out
For the fourth time this season the Crimson came back from a halftime deficit to defeat its opponent. The Crimson turned a 6-5 disadvantage against Columbia into a 15-9 run with a 9-0 run in the second session.
Jennifer VanderMeulen scored five goals, while Melanie Baskind, Jess Halpern and Danielle Tetreault had three a piece. Baskind scooped up a career-high seven ground balls. Harvard got off to a slow start and Columbia took advantage by pulling away 3-1 seven minutes into the game. The Lions held a 4-2 lead after 11 minutes of play. After 15 minutes with no scoring, the Columbia opened up a 5-2 lead. Halpern and Baskind scored with less than two minutes to play to pull within 5-4 at the half.
Columbia scored three of the first four goals in the second session to take a 8-5 lead with 23:09 to play. Over the next 15 minutes, the Crimson erased its deficit and took a 17-8 lead with five minutes remaining. Harvard scored nine straight goals, including five off free position shots. With just over a minute to play, Columbia snuck a goal into the net for its first tally in more than 22 minutes.
Scouting the Big Green
Dartmouth enters the game with a 9-3 overall record and a 5-1 Ivy League mark. The Big Green has won six of its last seven games and is coming off a 15-10 victory over Princeton last Saturday.
Four Dartmouth players have scored 20 or more goals this season, with Kat Collins leading the group at 25 goals. Kelsey Johnson and Kristen Giovanniello lead the team with 27 ground balls, while Sarah Plumb and Courtney Bennett have dominated in the draw circle, winning 22 draws each. Shannie MacKenzie has caused 17 opponent turnovers.
Giovanniello sports a 8.25 goals-against average in the net and has made 109 saves.
Harvard holds a slim 18-17-1 lead in the all-time series with Dartmouth. But the Big Green has had the advantage of late, winning 14 straight.
The Harvard women are 19th in the deBeer Media poll and Synapse Sports, formerly womenslacrosse.com. The Crimson is receiving votes in the IWLCA poll for the eighth week in a row.
Harvard has defeated a top-20 opponent in each of the last three seasons. Last week, the Crimson earned a 9-8 win against then-No. 12 Princeton. In 2010, Harvard knocked off No. 15 New Hampshire and the previous year, the Crimson topped No. 20 Cornell.
Against the Rest
Harvard is the most accurate team in the league, converting on 49.3 percent of its shots this season. The Crimson also has the league's highest scoring offense, which ranks 24th in the nation.
Jennifer VanderMeulen leads the league and are 14th the nation in goals per game (3.23). Danielle Tetreault is not far behind ranking 33rd.
Jennifer VanderMeulen has scored in every game of her career, 28 straight contests for the Crimson. She has 20 games with three or more goals and 14 games with four or more scores.
In the Record Books
Jess Halpern scored her 100th career goal against No. 7 Virginia (April 5). She has 107 goals (eighth on Harvard's all-time list), 22 assists and 129 career reports entering this weekend. Jennifer VanderMeulen's 98 career tallies, rank 10th in the Crimson annals.
Harvard has won 12 Ivy League titles since 1981. The Crimson won five straight and then after not claiming the title in 1986, won seven in a row, claiming its last title in 1993.
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.
Harvard will face off against Dartmouth in the first semifinal game of the Ivy League Tournament Friday, May 6 at Franklin Field in Philadelphia, Pa.