Season Preview: A Mix of Veterans and Rookies Will Pave the Path to Success for Women’s Lacrosse

Season Preview: A Mix of Veterans and Rookies Will Pave the Path to Success for Women’s Lacrosse

Photo of: The 2010 Harvard women's lacrosse team.
Photo courtesy of DSPics.com.

The Harvard women’s lacrosse team will look to get things going early as it plays its first four games of the 2010 season on the road. The Crimson opens up the season at Massachusetts, Feb. 27. The team played its first game of the year on the road last season as well. The Crimson started 2009 on a high note, a 13-10 win over Holy Cross. Harvard went on to win six games last year, posting a record of 6-10 overall and 2-5 in the Ivy League.

The Crimson concluded the 2009 season with a pair of wins, having defeated No. 20 Cornell, 11-7, and Boston College, 9-8, in the final games of the season. The win over the Big Red was the first win over a ranked opponent for a member of the team.

Harvard is receiving votes in the Inside Lacrosse Preseason Women’s Media Poll. The Crimson is one of five Ivy League squads earning votes, the most of any conference. Harvard, which dropped two contests in 2009 by a single goal and one by two scores, will face seven teams ranked in the top 20 of the Inside Lacrosse Preseason Women’s Media Poll. The Crimson eyes its first invitation to postseason play since 1994, as the Ancient Eight will hold the first-ever Ivy League tournament this year. The winner of the season’s-end tournament will receive the conference’s automatic berth to the NCAA tournament. 

Harvard returns 11 players, including nine starters, from the 2009 campaign and welcomes 10 for this year’s journey. Seniors Sara Flood and Delia Pais will serve as captains for the 2010 team.

Harvard averaged 10.95 goals per game in 2009 and returns 66 percent of its scoring from a year ago including its top scorer, junior Jess Halpern. The attacker earned first-team All-Ivy League honors after netting 46 goals and dishing out nine assists for 55 points in her second collegiate season. Halpern led the Ancient Eight in goals scored, goals per game (2.88) and points per game (3.44). She was also selected to the Intercollegiate Women's Lacrosse Coaches Association (IWLCA) All-Regional first team for the northeast region.

Sophomore Tyler Petropulos and Flood were third and fourth on the team in scoring, respectively. Petropulos tallied 23 goals and six assists for 29 points while Flood notched 21 goals and 16 helpers for 37 points and also won a team best 32 draw controls last season. Petropulos received All-Ivy League honorable mention after being in the top five on the team in nearly every statistical category in her rookie campaign.

Petropulos and Pais led the team with 29 ground balls apiece while Halpern was close behind with 28. Flood also caused 16 turnovers a year ago to lead the team. Petropulos recorded 31 draw controls of her own while Halpern snagged 30. 

Sophomore Lauren Ianni, junior Sam McMahon and Pais will anchor the Crimson defense. McMahon was limited to 11 games last season but still grabbed 15 ground balls and caused eight turnovers.  Ianni played in 11 games and started six during her freshman season. Sophomores Chelsea Bowman and Ellen Gleason make the transition to defense after playing in the midfield in their first seasons.

A trio of goaltenders comes back to add depth to the Crimson defense. Sophomore Kerry Clark saw most of the action last season. Clark turned aside 97 shots in 14 games played to earn four wins. Senior Katherine Martino played in seven games, starting two and winning both, during her junior year.

The Newcomers
Head coach Lisa Miller returns for her third season at the helm of the program. Miller’s 2010 recruiting class consists of nine freshmen from three states and one Canadian province. Five newcomers hail from the Empire State while the Garden State and Bay State are each represented by one rookie. Five midfielders, and a pair of attackers and defenders will be vying for playing time. Six rookies were selected to the U.S. Lacrosse or Under Armour All-America teams in their final high school seasons. Sophomore soccer standout Melanie Baskind, a two-time U.S. Lacrosse All-American in high school, joins the team as well.

The Crimson will play its first home game March 17 as it hosts No. 12 Boston University.

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