Photo courtesy of Gil Talbot.
The Harvard women's lacrosse team begins its Ivy League campaign Saturday at Cornell. It will be the second game of the season, as the Crimson plays its first two contests on the road.
Scouting the Crimson
A very young Harvard squad takes the field this weekend. The Crimson boasts 16 underclassmen, including 11 freshmen on its 24-player roster.
Five of the top-six scorers from a season ago return this season. Jennifer VanderMeulen (56g, 64p), Melanie Baskind (32g), Danielle Tetreault (20g, 10a), Micaela Cyr (19g) and Tyler Petropulos (11g) combined for 138 goals or 78 percent of the scoring effort. In addition, the Crimson welcome back Jess Halpern, the 2008 Ivy League Rookie of the Year and first-team All-Ivy League recipient, after missing last spring due to an early season injury. Halpern led the Ancient Eight in goals (2.88) and points per game (3.44) in her second season with the Crimson in 2009.
Last Time Out
Harvard nearly upset No. 6 Stanford, 18-17, in its season opener last Sunday. Seven Harvard players found the back of the net. Sophomore Danielle Tetreault scored a game- and career-high six goals in the Crimson's season opener.
Classmate Micaela Cyr scored a hat trick, while junior co-captain Melanie Baskind, newcomer Jenn Leffew and sophomore Jennifer VanderMeulen each had two goals, while freshman Chelsey Newman and second-year Nina Kucharczyk had a goal apiece. Baskind and Leffew also chipped in with one assist each.
Cyr won five draw controls and went 2-for-2 on free position shots along with Tetreault. Four different players caused one turnover.
.Scouting the Big Red
Cornell enters the weekend with a 1-1 record after recording a 15-14 win over Colgate Wednesday afternoon and falling to Rutgers, 11-7, in its first game of the season.
Libby Johnson paces the Big Red offense with eight goals and one assist. Jessi Stenberg (6g), Caroline Salibury (3) and Katie Kirk (3) are also scoring threats. Steinberg leads the team in draw controls with seven, while Ali O'Neil has a team-best five ground balls. Kyla Dambach has 13 saves in the net and sports a 14.20 goals-against average.
Harvard holds a 21-10 advantage in the series that dates back to 1980. The Crimson won the last two meetings, but the Big Red had won the 10 previous meetings. Harvard earned an 11-7 win during its last trip to Ithaca over a Cornell team that ranked No. 20 in the nation.
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
Stanford was the first of several nationally ranked teams on the Crimson's docket this spring. Six teams on Harvard's schedule appear in this week's IWLCA Division I poll: No. 5 Virginia (April 3), No. 8 Penn (March 12), No. 9 Stanford, No. 15 Dartmouth (April 29), No. 16 Boston College (March 17) and No. 18 Princeton (April 16).
Home Sweet Home
Harvard will play its home games at the new Soldiers Field Soccer/Lacrosse Stadium and Harvard Stadium. Soldiers Field was unveiled in the fall of 2010 and is one of the premier lacrosse and soccer facilities in the Northeast. Features seating capacity of up to 2,500 fans, including permanent bleachers which seat 1,000 spectators, as well as additional space for standing room only sections. Soldiers Field Soccer/Lacrosse Stadium also has a permanent press box and lights, which allow for games to be played at night. The Crimson is slated to play its first two home games of the season there before moving to Harvard Stadium.
The Crimson hosts nationally ranked Penn in its first home contest of the season March 12. Game times is slated for 1 p.m. at the Soldiers Field Soccer/Lacrosse Stadium.