Harvard, Princeton to Battle for the Ivy League's Automatic Bid in Women's Lacrosse
Senior tri-captain Sam McMahon and the Crimson take on No. 14 Princeton at 1 p.m. (photo courtesy of Gil Talbot).
Harvard will play Princeton Sunday for the second time this season with the automatic bid for the NCAA Tournament on the line.
Sunday's game will be televised live on CBS Sports Network. To see if its available in your area, click here.
Scouting the Crimson
Harvard is 10-5 overall after winning eight of its last 10 and six of seven. Thirteen Crimson players have found the back of the net for a team that averages 12.33 goals per game. Jennifer VanderMeulen paces the offense with 48 goals and five assists for 53 points. Danielle Tetreault (38g, 6a), Melanie Baskind (27g, 6a) and Jess Halpern (26g, 1a) have been scoring threats for the Crimson, which leads the Ivy League and is 26th in the nation in scoring offense.
Tetreault leads the team and is second in the Ivy League in draw controls with 26, while Baskind leads the team with 32 ground balls. Mariah Pewarski and Ellen Gleason pace the Crimson with 16 and 15 caused turnovers, respectively. Kerry Clark has made 89 saves in the cage and sports a 10.13 goals-against average.
Harvard and the Postseason
The Crimson has made 12 postseason appearances including nine in the NCAA tournament. Harvard went to the AIAW from 1980-82 and then earns spots in the NCAA tournament in 1983, '84, '88, '89, '90, '91, '92, '93,'94.
Harvard won the tournament in 1990 and finished second in 1989 and '92.
Friday's win over Dartmouth was the first since 1994. Harvard is looking for its first NCAA tournament appearance since 1994. The Crimson also collected double-digit wins (10) for the first time since 1994.
No one on Harvard's current roster was over the age of seven when the Crimson made its last trip to the NCAAs.
Last Time Out
Harvard turned a 7-4 second half deficit into an 11-10 victory over No. 10 Dartmouth to advance to the Ivy League Women's Lacrosse Tournament title game.
Harvard scored first and then saw its lead fall when Dartmouth scored three in a row to pull away. The Crimson came back and evened the score at 3-3 before the Big Green regained a 5-3 advantage. Jennifer VanderMeulen scored before the end of the half to pull the Crimson to 5-4.
Dartmouth came out strong in the second and pulled away 7-4 and then against ay 8-5 before three consecutive Crimson goals evened the score at 8. Melanie Baskind, Chelsey Newman and VanderMeulen combined for goals in the comeback. After the Big Green scored to take the lead, Baskind and Tetreault answered to put Harvard back on top. VanderMeulen scored two minutes later to make it 11-9. The Big Green was able to get one goal make, but ran out of time to get another shot off.
Scouting the Tigers
Princeton had five honorees on the All-Ivy League team. The Tigers enter the tournament ranked 14th in the nation after wins over Columbia and Penn State.
The Tigers overpowered No. 1 seed and seventh-ranked Penn in the second semifinal to earn its second win over the Quakers this season. Princeton was the only team to beat the five-time defending Ivy League champion.
Princeton leads the all-time series with the Crimson, 23-17. The two teams first played in 1975 with the Tigers earning the first three wins in the series. Harvard won 11 straight from 1984-92 and is currently riding a two-game win streak. The Crimson defeated Princeton, 9-8, in New Jersey this year. Harvard snapped a 17-game win streak for the Tigers last April at Harvard Stadium in an 11-9 upset on Alumnae Day.
Five Harvard players were selected to the 2011 All-Ivy League team, marking the most Crimson players to be honored since 1994.
Jennifer VanderMeulen and Melanie Baskind both earned spots on the All-Ivy League first-team to lead the Crimson. Danielle Tetreault and Ellen Gleason were named to the second-team, earning All-Ivy accolades for the first time. Jess Halpern earned Ancient Eight honors for the third time when she received honorable mention this season.
Penn hosted the inaugural Ivy League Women's Lacrosse Tournament in 2010 after going 7-0 in regular-season Ivy play. The Quakers won that tournament with a 13-9 semifinal win over Princeton and a 9-8 victory over Dartmouth in the championship game. Harvard is the one newcomer to the tournament, as Cornell joined the Quakers, Big Green and Tigers in the four-team field one year ago.
Harvard is receiving votes in the IWLCA poll for the ninth week in a row. The Crimson appeared at No. 19 in the deBeers Media Poll April 25.
Harvard has defeated a top-20 opponent in each of the last three seasons. The Crimson earned a 9-8 win against then-No. 12 Princeton and on Friday took down, No. 10 Dartmouth, 11-10. In 2010, Harvard knocked off No. 15 New Hampshire and the previous year, the Crimson topped No. 20 Cornell.
Silencing the Offense
Kerry Clark and the Crimson defense held Yale and New Hampshire without a goal in the second half. In fact, Harvard held its opponents scoreless for 71 minutes and 14 seconds in those two games.
Eight is Great
Harvard scored at least eight goals in 13 of its 15 games. The only time the Crimson did not meet the eight-goal mark was in its season finale against No. 10 Dartmouth April 29.
Against the Rest
Entering the week, The Crimson has the league's highest scoring offense and take the most shots on goal (20.43) and the second best shot percentage (.473).
Jennifer VanderMeulen leads the league and is 15th the nation in goals per game (3.21). Danielle Tetreault is not far behind ranking 41st.
One Goal Games
Harvard has played in six one-goal games this season winning three of them. Three of Harvard's five losses came by just one tally.
Second Half Scorers
The Crimson is definitely a second-half team, coming from behind in five games to earn the victory: Cornell, Johns Hopkins, New Hampshire, Columbia and Dartmouth.
About the Same
Harvard has scored 90 first-half goals and 95 second-half goals for 185 on the season.
On the Offensive
Harvard has the most potent offense in the Ivy League having scored in double figures in 11 games this season, including five games of 15 or more tallies.
Jennifer VanderMeulen has scored in every game of her career, 30 straight contests for the Crimson. She has 22 games with three or more goals and 14 games with four or more scores.
In the Record Books
Two Harvard players crossed the 100 goal plateau this season. Jess Halpern scored her 100th career goal against No. 7 Virginia (April 5), while Jennifer VanderMeulen did it against Dartmouth (April 28). Halpern has 108 goals (eighth on Harvard's all-time list), 22 assists and 130 career points entering this weekend. VanderMeulen's 104 career tallies, rank 10th in the Crimson annals.
On the Bench
Lisa Miller is in her fourth season with the Crimson. She sports a 139-82 overall record after spending 10 season at Syracuse. Miller sports a 33-29 since she began coaching the Crimson.
At Syracuse, Miller guided her teams to six NCAA tournaments.
Miller is assisted by Syracuse graduates Carla Gigon and Bridget Looney.