CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – The Harvard women's lacrosse team (8-6, 4-2 Ivy) built a 5-1 lead through the first 14 minutes of Saturday's game against No. 10 Penn (12-2, 5-1 Ivy), but the Quakers rallied and their defense held Harvard at bay the rest of the way to take the 13-10 decision at Harvard Stadium.
Keeley MacAfee and Marisa Romeo set the tone for the Harvard offense, as each had a hat trick and two helpers. Maeve McMahon and Katie Muldoon each scored twice. Junior goaltender Olivia Gundrum made nine saves over the final 27:03 of the game, a new career-high.
It was all Harvard in the early going Saturday, as Muldoon and Romeo each found the back of the net within the first 65 seconds of game play. Muldoon's goal was set up by Julia Glynn and MacAfee earned her first assist on the Romeo tally.
The Crimson continued to attack, doubling its lead with a pair of goals from McMahon at 24:29 and 24:03. Her first was a quick strike off a pass by Romeo from the opposite side of the cage. Her second saw her fake high before going behind her legs for a low shot that beat the goaltender nearside.
Erin Barry scored with 18:55 to go in the first to get Penn on the board, but Romeo converted on a free position just over two minutes later to extend Harvard's lead back to four goals. Penn took control of the final 15 minutes of the half, scoring the final four goals before intermission, sending the game to half knotted, 5-5.
MacAfee gave Harvard the lead back 55 seconds into the second frame with her first of three goals in the half, but Penn scored the next six over the ensuing 18 minutes to take an 11-6 lead it would not look back from. The teams traded goals down the stretch, but the Penn took a 13-10 victory at the final horn.
Prior to the game Saturday, Harvard honored the six seniors that comprise its class of 2017 in an on-field ceremony. Those seniors, and the rest of the Crimson, will close out the regular season next weekend with a trip to Ithaca, New York to face Cornell at 12 p.m.