Sports

Crimson oust women’s lacrosse from second place in conference

Hudgins ’14 held scoreless for the first time in 38 games as squad falls to fourth in standings

By
Sports Staff Writer
Monday, April 7, 2014

After starting the season a perfect 7-0, the Bears have now dropped three of their last four, including a six-goal blowout at the hands of Harvard. The team will have a chance to rebound Wednesday against Michigan.

The women’s lacrosse team fell to Harvard 10-4 Saturday, surrendering second place in the Ivy League standings to the Crimson. The loss was Bruno’s first by a margin greater than one goal and drops Brown into a three-way tie for fourth in the conference.

The Crimson (6-4, 3-1 Ivy) pulled ahead quickly, getting on the board less than two minutes into the contest with a goal from Audrey Todd, who scored again two minutes later to give Harvard an early 2-0 lead. Bruno (8-3, 2-2) responded with a long offensive possession, but a double team on Danielle Mastro ’14 forced a Bruno turnover. Tight Crimson defense around the net paralyzed the usually potent Brown offense. Co-captain Bre Hudgins ’14 was held scoreless for the first time in 38 games, snapping a point streak dating back to her sophomore season.

“They played good defense,” said Head Coach Keely McDonald ’00. “We needed everyone to be set offensively, and we didn’t do that. … That hurt us.”

Within the game’s first 10 minutes, a defensive scramble in front of Bruno’s goal created an empty-net situation that allowed the Crimson to score again and push the lead to three. McDonald called a timeout in an attempt to stop the bleeding, as Brown had taken only one shot in the time it took Harvard to amass three goals. But the break did little to slow down Harvard’s offense, and the Crimson notched two consecutive goals to hand the Bears a five-goal deficit.

Mastro scored Bruno’s first and only goal of the opening half with eight minutes left, but Harvard answered in the closing seconds to restore the lead to five at halftime.

Though the Bears won more draw controls during the first half, they lost any advantage by committing five turnovers, allowing the Crimson to outshoot them 10-3 in the period. A well-coordinated Harvard defense — focused primarily on shutting down Hudgins and Mastro — consistently repelled Bruno’s offense from drawing within scoring distance, and the Bears never found an answer.

“Halftime is a time for us to reset,” McDonald said. “I think the team knew we could play better.”

Bruno came out of the intermission with more intensity, willing itself back into the game. Mastro took just 30 seconds to score Bruno’s second goal and narrow the score to 6-2. Co-captain Grace Healy ’14 followed with a goal of her own, and the Bears pulled within three. But this was the closest the game would get, as Harvard responded with two more goals, the first of which bounced into the net off the shoulder of goalkeeper Kellie Roddy ’15. The two-goal spurt eliminated any hopes of a comeback.

“At the beginning of the first half, we came out really strong. But we didn’t capitalize on two sets after that,” McDonald said.

With things looking bleak after another Brown turnover and a five-goal deficit with 18 minutes remaining, McDonald called another timeout in an attempt to rally the troops. But the Bears mustered just a single tally after the timeout, when Alyssa DiBona ’15 fired her second goal of the season three minutes later. The Crimson iced the game with two more goals before the final buzzer, sealing the convincing win by a six-goal margin of 10-4.

“It’s really tough in an Ivy game to be down 5-0,” McDonald said. “It takes an incredible amount of energy to fight back from that point. We did show great effort at the beginning of the second half.”

The Bears committed 14 total turnovers against the Crimson, crucial missteps in their lowest-scoring game of the season. Harvard fired almost twice as many shots as Bruno, and Roddy recorded her lowest save percentage of the season, 37.5 percent.

The Bears will play a midweek game Wednesday, looking to rebound when the University of Michigan (1-10, 0-5 ALC) comes to College Hill. Brown resumes Ivy play Saturday against Cornell (5-5, 2-2) in its last home contest of the year.

McDonald said the team is ready to move on. “It was a tough loss for us, but that happens,” she said. “We’re still in this, we just have to reset for this week and play our game for 60 minutes.”