Photo of Kerry Clark courtesy of Gil Talbot.
The Harvard women's lacrosse team plays at home for the first time this season on Saturday when fourth-ranked Penn visits Cambridge. The Crimson takes on the nationally ranked Quakers at Soldiers Field Soccer/Lacrosse Stadium at 1 p.m.
Scouting the Crimson
Harvard is 1-1 overall and 1-0 in Ivy League play heading into this weekend. Eight Crimson players have found the back of the net for a team that averages 15.0 goals per game. Danielle Tetreault paces the offense with eight goals and one assist for nine points. Melanie Baskind (5g, 1a), Jennifer VanderMeulen (6g), Jenn Leffew (4g, 1a) Micaela Cyr (3g, 1a) and Jess Halpern (2g) have been scoring threats for the Crimson.
Cyr leads the team in draw controls with 10, while newcomer Lauren Tomkinson leads the team with four ground balls. Baskind and senior tri-captain Sam McMahon lead the team with two caused turnovers. Kerry Clark has made 16 saves in the cage and sports a 15.0 goals-against average.
Last Time Out
Harvard used a six-goal run in the second half to pull away from Cornell and then hold off the Big Red charge for a 13-12 win last Saturday. Jennifer VanderMeulen scored four goals and Danielle Tetreault added the game-winner.
VanderMeulen put the Crimson on the board first before Cornell scored two straight. Harvard used a 5-2 run to take a 6-4 lead with 12 minutes to play in the first half. The Big Red scored the final three goals of the half to take a 7-6 lead into the break.
Harvard responded by scoring the first five goals of the second session to take a 12-7 lead. The Big Red closed the gap and scored five of the final six goals of the game.
Scouting the Quakers
The fourth-ranked Quakers come to Cambridge with a 3-0 record after defeating Hofstra, 8-4, Wednesday night. Giulia Giordano led the way for Penn with three goals and an assist as Penn broke open a 4-3 game with a four-goal run in the second half. Emily Leitner had nine saves for her third win of the season.
Giordiano leads the Quakers in scoring with eight goals, while Caroline Bunting has six to her credit. Leitner has allowed only 20 goals in three games thus far.
Penn leads the all-time series that dates back to 1975, 19-18. The Quakers have won the last 10 meetings against the Crimson. Harvard won 15 straight against the Quakers from 1981-95. The Crimson's last victory against Penn came April 9, 2000 in Philadelphia.
The Harvard women received votes in this week's IWLCA poll.
Against the Rest
Harvard ranks in the top 20 in several national statistics. The Crimson has the ninth best offense in the nation, averaging 15.0 goals per game and is seventh in draw controls with 15.5 per game.
Individually, Danielle Tetreault is 10th in the nation in goals per game and 23rd in points per game. Micaela Cyr is fourth in the country in draw controls with 5.0 per contest.
Around the League
Elsewhere in the league, Yale hosts Marist and Brown travels to Princeton Saturday, while Cornell and Columbia meet in New York City Sunday.
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.4 Penn (March 12), No. 7 Virginia (April 3), No. 8 Stanford, No. 15 Dartmouth (April 29), No. 16 Boston College (March 17) and No. 17Princeton (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 home game of the season there before moving to Harvard Stadium.
The Crimson makes the short trip to Boston College for an intra-city game. Harvard faces off against the nationally ranked Eagles at 3 p.m. on March 17.