There’s no stopping them, and there’s no containing them. It’s too bad the team from Connecticut wasn’t forewarned.
On Saturday (March 28), Crimson women’s lacrosse teammates Jess Halpern ’11 and Kaitlin Martin ’09 — who are first and second respectively in the Ivy League in goals, points, and shots per game — provided more than enough offensive fuel for the Crimson, scoring a combined seven goals to guide the Crimson to an 8-5 victory over the Yale Bulldogs for Harvard’s first Ivy League win of the season.
Halpern, who scored the first goal of the match just 69 seconds into the game, freed herself from her defender with a dazzling stutter-step move, immobilizing the Yale defense long enough to fire the ball in. Minutes later, Yale capitalized on a Crimson penalty to tie the game at 1. The Crimson scored three more goals in the period, going into the half up 4-2.
At the start of the second half, Halpern again wasted no time getting the Crimson on the board, recording her third goal of the game and doing it — in pure Halpern form — just 70 seconds into the half. It was Halpern’s 32nd goal of the season and marked the eighth time in nine games she finished with at least three goals.
Yale was far from done, answering Halpern’s goal with three unanswered tallies, evening the score at 5-5. But filling the offensive vacuum, Martin picked up where Halpern left off, posting three more goals in the final 11 minutes of the game. This late drive proved to be too much for the Bulldogs, who could not get past the Crimson defense to find the back of the net.
Crimson goaltender Kerry Clark, who notched five saves in the contest, was critical in the win. Challenged late in the game, the freshman came up with several huge saves for Harvard.
The Crimson, who going into Saturday’s game had dropped four of their last five, have struggled in close games this year, but managed this time to pull together for their fourth win of the season.
“We play in waves. [This season] we haven’t played for 60 minutes. We would play hard for spurts, and teams would catch us in down periods, where we would start slow and then relax a little bit. The difference here is that we didn’t ground ball well, but for the most part played [as] hard as we could for the whole game. It was a consistent effort,” said Harvard head coach Lisa Miller.
Although the statline was once again dominated by the dynamic Halpern-Martin pair, the victory was clearly a team effort.
“[Clark] had a huge save when we really needed one, Sam [McMahon] ’10 had a huge takeaway when we really needed one, and they scrambled around and came up with ground balls. They played hard. We need to do it the rest of the season,” said Miller.
Harvard (4-5; 1-1 Ivy League) will look to take the momentum from the victory to fuel the team as they host second-ranked Penn on Saturday (April 4).
“The game’s about fundamentals. It’s about doing the little things right as hard as you can all of the time,” said Miller. “Regardless of your opponent, you’re always trying to control what you do.”