Photo courtesy of Gil Tablot.
The Harvard women's lacrosse team returns to Ivy League play in the first of four games on the road Friday at Brown. The Crimson, which is coming off a 3-1 homestand, takes on the Bears at 6 p.m.
Scouting the Crimson
Harvard boasts a .500 record at 4-4 after going 3-1 at home in its last four outings. Ten Crimson players have found the back of the net for a team that averages 13.2 goals per game. Jennifer VanderMeulen paces the offense with 25 goals and an assist for 26 points. Danielle Tetreault (18g, 3a), Jess Halpern (19g, 1a) and Melanie Baskind (15g, 3a), have been scoring threats for the Crimson, which leads the Ivy League and is 21st in the nation in scoring offense.
Micaela Cyr leads the team and is second in the Ivy League in draw controls with 21, while Baskind leads the team with 14 ground balls. Ellen Gleason paces the Crimson with nine caused turnovers. Kerry Clark has made 51 saves in the cage and sports an 11.25 goals-against average.
Last Time Out
After going goal-for-goal with No. 7 Virginia in the 10 minutes of the game, the Crimson fell behind 10-6 at the half and then 15-9 midway through the second session. Harvard mounted a come-back outscoring the Cavaliers, 8-3, to tie the game at 17 with 7:41 to play. The Crimson scored five straight during its scoring streak. Virginia scored twice in 15 seconds to regain the lead and fought off a determined Crimson offense in the 19-18 win.
Jess Halpern and Jennifer VanderMeulen scored five goals apiece, while Melanie Baskind had three goals and an assist on the afternoon. Kerry Clark made 10 saves in the net, while Ellen Gleason scooped up four ground balls and caused two turnovers.
Scouting the Bears
Brown enters the week with a 5-4 overall record and 1-2 in conference play, The Bears have fallen in its last two games to nationally ranked teams in Stanford and Dartmouth.
The Bears have the second best offense in the league, averaging 11.56 goals per game. Bre Hudgins and Kaela McGilloway lead the way with 22 and 20 goals, respectively. McGilloway and Julia Keller have set up the attack with nine assists each. Grace Healy has won 41 draw controls, while Sidney Jacobs has a team-best 19 ground balls. Alex Caldwell has caused 13 turnovers for the Bears.
Isabel Harvey has started every game in the net and collected 50 saves. She posts an 11.42 goals against average and .500 save percentage.
Harvard holds a 26-10 lead in the all-time series dating back to April 26, 1975. The Crimson won the first game and then 16 of the next 18 contests.
The Crimson has won four of the last six contests after to the Bears, 11-10, last March at Harvard Stadium.
The Harvard women are ranked 20th in the nation by Synapse Sports, formerly womenslacrosse.com, and are receiving votes in the IWLCA poll for the fifth week in a row.
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 has scored at least eight goals in all eight games so far this season.
Against the Rest
The Crimson leads the Ivy League and is 18th in the nation in draw controls (13.38 per game), Harvard is the most accurate team in the league, converting on 53.8 percent of its shots this season. The Crimson also has the league's highest scoring offense, which ranks 21st in the nation.
Jennifer VanderMeulen leads the league and are 16th the nation in goals per game (3.13). Jess Halpern is not far behind, ranking third in the league and 35th in the nation.
Jennifer VanderMeulen has scored in every game of her career, 23 straight contests for the Crimson. She has 13 games with three or more goals and 11 games with four or more scores.
Around the League
Brown and Harvard are the only teams in action Friday evening. On Saturday, Dartmouth looks to stay unbeaten when it hosts Cornell and Yale welcomes Princeton. Brown will host Duke, while Penn visits Northwestern on Sunday.
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
Harvard is more than halfway through the toughest part of its schedule as only two nationally ranked teams are left on the Crimson docket. The Crimson boast the 14th most difficult schedule in Division I. Six teams on Harvard's schedule appear in this week's IWLCA Division I poll: No. 8 Penn (March 12), No. 11 Virginia (April 3), No. 7 Stanford, No. 12 Princeton (April 16), No. 19 Dartmouth (April 29) and No. 16 Boston College (March 17).
Home Sweet Home
Harvard is 2-1 at home this season and 2-0 at Harvard Stadium. The Crimson's remaining three home games will be played at Harvard Stadium.
Harvard remains on the road for a non-conference tilt at Holy Cross April 13. First draw is scheduled for 7 p.m.