An up-and-down season ended with a pair of wins as the Harvard women's lacrosse team competed against seven ranked teams during the 2009 season. The Crimson finished the campaign with a 6-10 overall record, including 2-5 in the Ivy League for a sixth-place finish in the Ancient Eight.
Sophomore Jess Halpern was named first-team All-Ivy after leading the Crimson and the league in scoring with 2.88 goals and 3.44 points per game. The 2008 Ivy League Rookie of the Year tallied 11 hat tricks on the season and scored in 28 of her 32 collegiate games.
Freshman Tyler Petropulos received honorable mention All-Ivy after ranking third on the team in goals with 23 and fourth with six assists and 29 points. She also led the Crimson with 16 caused turnovers, 29 ground balls and tied for second in draw controls with 31.
Harvard began the year on the road at Holy Cross Feb. 21 and earned a 13-10 win to start the season. Halpern, freshman Katie Doherty and senior Kaitlin Martin provided all the scoring for the Crimson. Halpern put six scores on the board, while Doherty contributed four and Martin tallied the other three.
The Crimson then began a three-game stretch at home on Cumnock Turf, the first women's lacrosse games ever played on the field. On Feb. 28, UMass opened up a 5-0 lead to start the game, but Harvard would eventually tie it twice, including at 12-12, before the Minutemen scored with under three minutes left for a 13-12 win. Martin and Halpern both had hat tricks, while Petropulos and rookie Kathryn Sall scored their first collegiate goals. After scoring nine goals in the first two games of the season, Halpern was named the Co-Offensive Player of the Week by the Ivy League.
The team rebounded the next weekend against Quinnipiac, downing the Bobcats, 15-10, March 7. Junior Sara Flood led the way with four goals and three assists as the Crimson won 19 of the 26 draw controls on the day. Halpern and Martin both chipped in with three scores each.
In the last game of the homestand March 11, the Crimson faced its first ranked opponent of the season in No. 13 New Hampshire. Halpern scored one of her three goals on the afternoon to tie the game up with two seconds left in regulation, but the Wildcats tallied two in the extra session for an 11-9 win. Freshman Kerry Clark made 10 saves in goal.
The Crimson then began a four-game stretch away from home, beginning with Brown March 14 in the team's Ivy League opener. The Bears jumped out on top early, 7-1, before the Crimson scored five in a row to get back into the game. Brown, though, scored three unanswered goals late for the 12-8 win. Halpern's three goals again led the Crimson.
Martin and Halpern each scored five goals as head coach Lisa Miller's squad rebounded with a 14-12 win over Connecticut March 18. Harvard built the lead up to as many as seven before the Huskies inched closer, including four in a row to end the game. Clark stopped 11 shots to preserve the win.
From there, it was a short drive to Boston University for a matchup against the No. 12 Terriers March 21. Halpern and Petropulos combined for nine goals, but the Terrier offense was too much as BU earned a 17-12 win, aided by a 21-10 advantage in draw controls. Halpern earned Offensive Player of the Week honors from the Ivy League after tallying 11 points against UConn and BU.
Martin equaled her career high with seven goals in the next game at Albany March 25, but the Crimson could not keep up in a high-scoring effort, falling by a 19-15 margin. Flood contributed three goals, while Halpern assisted on three scores.
Returning home for three straight games at Harvard Stadium, the Crimson allowed its fewest goals of the year in an 8-5 win over Yale March 28. Martin and Halpern had four and three goals, respectively, while Clark made five saves for the win.
Playing games in back-to-back days for the first time since 2001, Harvard fell to No. 3 Penn, 18-9, April 4, and to No. 9 Virginia, 13-9, the following day at Harvard Stadium. Senior Shannon Flynn had three goals against the Quakers, while Halpern tallied four against the Cavaliers.
Another pair of top-15 opponents, in No. 7 Princeton and No. 13 Dartmouth, awaited the Crimson for a pair of road games. Freshman Ellen Gleason and junior Delia Pais scored their first collegiate goals in a 17-5 loss to the Tigers April 11. The Big Green built up a 10-goal lead and cruised to a 13-6 win April 15. Petropulos was the only Crimson player to score twice.
Returning for its last home match of the season against Columbia April 18, the Lions netted the game winner with under a minute left to play and held on for an 11-10 win. Petropulos (four goals) and Halpern and Doherty (three goals each) provided all of the scoring for the Crimson.
Harvard was able to break the losing streak April 25 at No. 20 Cornell, building an 8-3 lead and eventually turning it into an 11-7 win. Junior Katherine Martino made eight saves in goal for the win, while Halpern's four goals paced the offense and earned her a spot on the womenslacrosse.com honor roll.
Ending the season April 30 at Boston College, Doherty scored with one second left off an assist by Martin for a 9-8 win after the Eagles had tied the game with 30 seconds left. Martino's seven saves gave her the second win in a row.
Halpern scored 46 goals to lead the Crimson with a team-best 55 points. Martin ranked second with 39 goals and 53 points, good for fifth and second in the Ivy League, while also leading the Ancient Eight with 6.31 shots per contest. Flood handed out a team-leading 16 assists with 21 goals, and Petropulos, with 23 goals, and Doherty, with 16, also reached double figures in scoring. Clark, meanwhile, made 97 saves and posted a 12.95 goals-against average in 14 starts. Martino made two starts and appeared in seven games all together with a 9.92 goals-against mark and 29 saves.
On to 2010
Martin, Flynn and seniors Sarah Bancroft and Catriona Stewart all will depart the Crimson roster, while Martino, Flood and Pais will move up to the senior leadership roles in 2010. Halpern, Penelope Smith and Sam McMahon will look to build off their sophomore campaigns, while a slew of freshmen: Clark, Petropulos, Gleason, Sall, Doherty, Chelsey Bowman, Elizabeth Holly, Lauren Ianni and Julia Nagle, will build a solid foundation for the next several years as Miller ventures into her third season at the helm of the program.