No. 19 Women's Lacrosse Opens 2012 Season Saturday vs. BU

No. 19 Women's Lacrosse Opens 2012 Season Saturday vs. BU

Harvard returns 23 of 24 letterwinners from last year's team which registered the program's highest win total since 1994 (Gil Talbot).

The Storyline
The No. 19 Harvard women's lacrosse team will open its 38th season of play Saturday, Feb. 25 when it hosts cross-town foe Boston University at 3 p.m. at Soldiers Field Soccer/Lacrosse Stadium. The Crimson is coming off its most successful campaign in 17 years and has returned all but one student-athlete from last year's squad.

Banner Year
Harvard posted a 10-6 overall record and went 5-2 in the Ivy League in 2011, recording the team's highest overall and conference win totals since 1994. The Crimson finished in a tie for third place in the Ancient Eight standings, its best showing since a third-place finish in 1996, and was rewarded with one All-America, three all-region and five all-Ivy selections.

National Prominence
The Crimson is currently ranked 19th in the deBeer Media Poll and was listed as receiving votes in the Intercollegiate Women's Lacrosse Coaches Association (IWLCA) Preseason Coaches Poll. Harvard finished 2011 ranked 20th in the IWLCA poll, marking the team's first appearance in the rankings since 1997.

Tewaaraton Award Watch List
Junior's Jennifer VanderMeulen and Danielle Tetreault were named to the 2012 Tewaaraton Award Watch List, which is comprised of the top 50 women's lacrosse student-athletes from all three divisions of collegiate lacrosse. VanderMeulen and Tetreault are the latest Crimson to be put up for the prestigious award, after current teammates Jess Halpern and Micaela Cyr were nominated in 2010 and 2011, respectively.

VanderMeulen is coming off a season in which she was named to the Synapse Sports All-America second team, IWLCA All-Region first team and All-Ivy League first team after ranking 18th in the NCAA in goals per game (3.0) and 30th in goals (48). She currently ranks 10th in program history with 104 career goals, while her 56 scores in 2010 rank fifth on Harvard's single-season list.

Tetreault was a first team all-region and second team all-Ivy selection a year ago, and ranked 31st in the nation with 2.63 goals per game. Tetreault boasts 62 career goals, 17 assists and 79 points in 31 career games.

Previewing What's To Come
Head coach Lisa Miller recently sat down with to provide insight into what fans can expect to see from the Crimson in 2012.

Welcome Back
Harvard has welcomed back 23 of 24 members of last year's squad, accounting for 100 percent of its scoring output, 98 percent of its ground balls collected and 94 percent of its caused turnovers. Jennifer VanderMuelen led the Crimson offense with 48 goals and five assists for 53 points, while Danielle Tetreault posted 42 goals and seven assists for 49 points. Jess Halpern (29), Melanie Baskind (28), Tyler Petropulos (14) and Chelsey Newman (10) also registered double-digit goals.

Baskind tallied a team-high 33 ground balls on the defensive side of the ball with Ellen Gleason and Petropulos turning in 23 ground balls and 20 ground balls, respectively. Mariah Pewarski and Lauren Tomkinson posted 16 caused turnovers apiece, while Tetreault's 29 draw controls led the Crimson.

Kerry Clark played every minute in goal for Harvard in 2011, recording a 10-6 overall record with a 10.25 goals against average and 26 ground balls.

Two-Sport Star Baskind Featured by New England Lacrosse Journal
Senior Melanie Baskind, who captains both the women's lacrosse and women's soccer teams and is an All-Ivy League honoree in both sports, was recently featured by Sammi Gorman of the New England Lacrosse Journal.

"In the city of Boston — a breeding ground for both star athletes and top students at some of the world’s best academic institutions — Melanie Baskind is different.

"She’s not the only student with a 3.8 grade-point average as a neurobiology major at a top school like Harvard, and she’s not the only athlete to get league Player of the Year honors in her sport. She is the only one to do those things and be a threat to earn those kind of honors in two sports."

Click here to read the full article.

Rank and File
Harvard finished its 2011 campaign ranked 22nd in the nation in win percentage (62.5) while its +1.94 scoring margin was good for 27th. The Crimson also ranked 29th in goals per game (12.19) and were 32nd in scoring defense (10.25).

Individually, Jennifer VanderMeulen's 3.0 goals per game placed her 18th in the NCAA while Danielle Tetreault ranked 31st with 2.63 per game. Kerry Clark, meanwhile, owned the 35th-best goals against average in the cage at 10.26.

Climbing the Charts
Senior Jess Halpern and junior Jennifer VanderMeulen currently rank among Harvard's all-time top 10 goal scorers. Halpern has netted 111 career goals, good for seventh in program history, while her 133 points place her three shy of 10th place in school history. VanderMeulen, meanwhile, ranks 10th with 104 goals in just 31 games and boasts 117 points. Her 56 goals scored in 2010 rank fifth on the Crimson's single-season list.

Can't Stop Her
Junior Jennifer VanderMeulen has scored at least one goal in 30 of her 31 games played. VanderMeulen has registered multiple goals 28 times and has scored at least three goals on 22 occasions.

To Be the Best, You Have to Beat the Best
Harvard has knocked off a top 20 opponent in each of the last three seasons, and will have plenty of opportunities to do in 2012. Eight of the Crimson's opponents this season are currently ranked in either the IWLCA Preseason Coaches Poll or the deBeer Media Poll, including Stanford (6/NR), Princeton (8/7), James Madison (9/18), Virginia (10/6), Penn (11/9), Syracuse (12/12), Boston College (13/8) and Dartmouth (14/11).

Captaining the Ship
Seniors Melanie Baskind, Ellen Gleason and Tyler Petropulos were voted by their teammates as captains for the 2012 season. Baskind and Petropulos also served as captains last season, making them just the sixth and seventh student-athletes in program history to be voted captain in consecutive seasons. Ceci Clark '92 was the first to do so when she captained both the 1991 and 1992 squads, and was followed by Daphne Clark '97 (1996 & 1997), Ali Harper '01 (2000 & 2001), Lauren Bobzin '08 (2007 & 2008) and Sara Flood '10 (2009 & 2010). This is just the sixth time in program history three Crimson had been chosen to lead the team.

Historical Perspective
Harvard captured the program's first national championship in 1990 when it defeated Maryland, 8-7. The Crimson won four games that season by a single goal en route to a 15-0 record, with Jenny Walser '90 scoring the game winner in three of those four games, including the national title game. Four-year letterwinners Carroll Clark '90, Karen Everling '90, Julie French '90, and Walser graduated with a career record of 50-8-1, including a perfect 23-0 mark in the Ivy League.

The Crimson has made a total of nine NCAA Tournament appearances and has reached the national championship game three times. Harvard has also won 11 Ivy League Championships, tied with Dartmouth for the most in conference history.

Scouting the Terriers
Boston University opened its 2012 campaign with a 13-11 loss to UMass on Wednesday. The Terriers led 3-1 early, but were outscored 7-2 in the final 19-plus minutes of the first half en route to the loss. Danielle Etrasco scored five goals on seven shots to lead the team, while Christina Sheridan stopped nine shots in goal. UMass outshot the Terriers 32-22 for the game, and forced 15 BU turnovers.

Boston is coming off an 8-9 campaign in which it finished third in the America East regular season standings. The Terriers will be led by Etrasco, a junior who was named to the Tewaaraton Award Watch List and the America East Co-Player of the Year after ranking eighth in the NCAA last year with 57 goals.  Molly Swain (29g, 6a) and Hannah Frey (28g, 4a) also return on offense.

Sheridan projects as the team's starter in goal after going 7-7 in 2011 with a 9.75 goals against average, the 25th-lowest in the country. The Terriers will be looking to add new faces on the defensive end, after losing Corcoran Downey, the team's leader in ground balls (38) and caused turnovers (21), and Rachel Collins, the team's leader in draw controls (53), to graduation.

Harvard defeated BU 16-6 last season to take an 11-10 lead in the all-time series and break a six-game winning streak for the Terriers against the Crimson. Danielle Tetreault led all scorers with four goals and one assist for five points, while Jess Halpern tallied three goals. Mariah Pewarski collected four-ground balls while Lauren Tomkinson caused four turnovers, and Melanie Baskind led the team with four draw controls. Kerry Clark made four saves in goal to register the win.