CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – The Harvard women's lacrosse team (4-1) smothered Ohio State (5-4) for much of the afternoon Monday, setting the tone for a 13-7 victory in the first-ever matchup between the two schools. The win was also the third-straight for the Crimson, who will head down to Winter Park, Florida to take on No. 4 Syracuse Friday night.
Harvard racked up a 32-17 total shot advantage, boasted a 14-8 draw control edge and scooped up five more ground balls than Ohio State, 18-13. The Crimson was particularly efficient clearing its zone, going a perfect 17-for-17 on clear attempts.
Senior Marisa Romeo continued to pace the offense, scoring four goals for the third-straight game, giving her a team-best 18 goals this season. Fellow senior Maeve McMahon dominated the draw control game, securing eight, while also scoring twice and causing one turnover. Emma Ford, Marina Burke and Julia Lennon each caused two turnovers, while Meredith Brown stopped nine shots in goal.
The first half was a low-scoring affair, as Harvard built a 4-2 advantage heading into the intermission. McMahon scored the first goal with Harvard in a man-up situation with 17:43 on the clock. Nicole Baiocco doubled the lead less than two minutes later and then on the man-down, Ford went coast-to-coast to beat Ohio State goaltender Jill Rizzo to put Harvard ahead, 3-0, with 12:52 left in the half. The Buckeyes scored twice in the last five minutes, bookending Romeo's first of the contest.
The first 11 minutes of the second half went back-and-forth, as Ohio State was able to pull ahead twice, but Harvard scored the game's final seven goals over the last 18:28 to take command. Trailing 7-6, Keeley MacAfee evened the game with a conversion from a free position attempt. Julia Glynn gave the Crimson the lead for good with a man-up goal with 15:53 left to play, burying a shot off a feed from Romeo.
Romeo scored three times during the final 10 minutes of the game, joined on the stat sheet by McMahon and Megan Hennessey during that stretch, bring the final tally to 13-7.
This marks the second year in a row Harvard has started the season 4-1, and it will take that record into its neutral site game against the Orange Saturday, before returning to Cambridge for games against Massachusetts (March 22), Columbia (March 25) and Stanford (March 28).