By Mimi Tarrant
A Typical Harvard-Yale
Harvard Women’s Lacrosse exhibit dominate display against rivals Yale
By MIMI TARRANT
This Sunday saw the Harvard Women’s Lacrosse team take on the Yale Bulldogs on their home turf in Cambridge, and the team didn’t fail to provide a spectacular display for the students who came to watch after returning back to campus from spring break. With the sun shining down on Jordan’s Field, supporters came out in their droves to cheer on the lacrosse team, now at 5-4 in the season after their emphatic 18-8 win over the Bulldogs.
As with every Harvard-Yale matchup, the run-up to this game was laden with history; with Harvard having lost out to Yale last year in a tight overtime thriller, it would have been understandable if they had approached the competition on Sunday with a sense of apprehension. These potential nerves may have been the reason for a close first half, with the matchup being tightly contested from the offset. Whilst Yale opened the scoring, the lead was quickly taken by Harvard through two goals from Keeley MacAfee, with another added by freshman Grace Hulslander. Senior captain MacAfee would go on to score a total of 6 goals in the contest, equalling her career high for goals in a game, and proved to be a guiding light in the attacking set-up of the team. The resilience of the Harvard team against Yale’s persistent attacks ultimately allowed the first half to finish 5-4 in favor of the Crimson, while the match seeming to hang in the balance between the two tight-matched teams.
Despite this, the second half turned out to be pivotal for the Crimson, with an eight goal streak for Harvard causing the Yale Bulldogs to fall dramatically behind in the contest. With four saves from sophomore Grace Rotondo in goal, the Crimson consolidated their emphatic attacking period with a solid defensive one, not allowing the Bulldogs a goal for a 14 minute period in the second half. Rotondo commended her defensive line for the role they had to play in the victory on Sunday, saying that “there were many defensive stops – whether that be an interception, a crucial ground ball or a save. With the defense holding its ground and making plays, the offense were able on multiple occasions to convert these plays into goals”. This fluidity between the offensive and defensive lines proved key for the Crimson, and, in the end, the Bulldogs were not able to recover from their deficit, with the game ending 18-8 in the Crimson’s favor. With Harvard dramatically outshooting Yale at 33-17, the end-score was an accurate reflection of the excellent second half experienced by the Crimson.
The Crimson’s win over Yale takes the team to 1-1 in Ivy play, with this Sunday handing Devon Wills her first Ivy League win as the Head Coach for Harvard Women’s Lacrosse this season. Rotondo added that the new coaching appointments had “fostered a positive and fun team culture,” with the leadership and expertise of the coaching staff allowing the team to develop both on and off the field. The Crimson will be looking to this leadership after their convincing win against Yale as they make the short trip to Dartmouth next weekend. When they do, they will be looking to replicate their excellent performance against Yale, with Rotondo explaining that the team is ”extremely excited for and confident about the rest of the season” following Sunday’s game. With Dartmouth 2-0 in Ivy League play so far, the trip will prove a tough contest, but this growing Harvard team has already proven that they have a lot of potential at hand, promising an exciting remainder of the season for the Harvard Crimson.
Mimi Tarrant ‘21 ([email protected]) is looking forward to closely following the progress of the Women’s Lacrosse team, not least because her blockmate is the goalie.