By Matt Noonan
FOXBOROUGH, MA – The Syracuse University women’s lacrosse team needed less than 20 seconds to net their first strike of the afternoon, as the Orange defeated Harvard University at Gillette Stadium on Saturday, 10-6.
Sophomore Alyssa Murray, (four goals, one assist) led the charge with four goals, while sophomore Katie Webster, (three goals) notched three strikes in the team’s sixth win of the season.
“It was a good win, it wasn’t our best effort of the year, but it was solid and we did what we needed to do to have success,” Syracuse head coach Gary Gait said.
“I just tried to do my best, score on the opportunities that I got and really communicate with the rest of the offense to keep it flowing,” said Murray, who’s the team’s current leading goal scorer. “Once we got rolling it really went a lot easier, and we started to get a lot of more easy goals.”
Senior Sarah Holden provided the Orange an early one-goal lead before Harvard answered when senior Melanie Baskind, (three goals, two assists) connected with sophomore Jenn Leffew, which evened the score at 1-1.
The Orange offense responded seven minutes later by spouting off five goals before the Crimson closed the opening half with a goal by sophomore Chelsey Newman.
“We just wanted to go into the halftime down by four versus down by five, and then we wanted to kill the clock and have a good opportunity at the end and to be able to go in by four,” said Harvard head coach Lisa Miller. “Lacrosse is a game of runs – you’re down by three or four [or] even five – it’s not something you should worry about because you can tag a couple goals together, so we just wanted to score going into the locker room.”
Harvard built off Newman’s goal once the second session began, as Baskind registered three consecutive strikes, which pulled the Crimson to within two points.
Although, Syracuse’s offense regrouped, and pulled away for good, as Murray and Webster combined for the team’s three final goals, which preserved their second victory against an unranked opponent this season.
“We’re starting a run of tough games coming up, and this was key to make sure we didn’t slip and make any mistakes,” said Gait. “They answered the challenge [against] a good solid, young Harvard team.”
Despite the loss, Harvard’s Melanie Baskind’s two assists matched her career high against Stanford last week.
“We moved her back into the midfield and I think she gets her energy from running up and down,” Miller said. “We’ve moved her back down behind the crease recently just because we’ve had so many injuries and we’re banged up, but you let her run a little bit, she gets up top and she gets a little room and she’s going to get a shot off. She’s [certainly] competitive and [was] definitely trying to pull us back into [the game].”