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Women’s Lacrosse Loses 16-8 Against Rival No. 10 Yale

Sophomore midfielder Charlotte Hodgson makes a pass in a game this season against Brown. Hodgson scored in Harvard's losing effort against Yale.
Sophomore midfielder Charlotte Hodgson makes a pass in a game this season against Brown. Hodgson scored in Harvard's losing effort against Yale. By Courtesy Harvard Athletics

This past Saturday, the No. 22 Harvard women's lacrosse team (9-3, 3-2 Ivy) traveled to New Haven to face off against the No. 10 Yale Bulldogs. The Crimson looked to continue its winning momentum after decisively defeating Cornell last week. However, Harvard could not withstand the pressure of Yale’s aggressive and speedy defense, falling 16-8 to its Ivy League rival.

Early on in the first quarter, the Crimson took the lead with a score of 2-1. Sophomore Charlotte Hodgson and senior Riley Campbell secured the team’s first two goals before Yale’s strong defensive unit eased into its high tempo of play. By the end of the first quarter, the Bulldogs had successfully added three more points to the scoreboard, pushing ahead of Harvard 4-2. Carole Kleinfelder Head Coach Devon Wills highlighted the opponent’s strong start.

“They play a really solid defense and their offense is really explosive,” Wills said. “They have a lot of different threats. I think it took us a minute to adjust to the speed they were moving the ball in the first quarter. But we made some good halftime adjustments and came out and actually played them a lot tighter. I wish we had started that way.”

In the second quarter, the Crimson ran into foul trouble. Hannah Shiels and Despina Giannakopoulos, both sophomore defenders, were called for green card offenses and Campbell was hit with a yellow card. Campbell's and Shiels’s penalties overlapped, subjecting the Crimson’s defense to a two-woman deficit. Yale was able to capitalize on the two woman-up situation and junior Bulldogs attackerJenna Collignon tallied another quick goal. The Crimson’s junior attacker Callie Hem responded with a goal off the assist from Caroline Mullahy in the final three seconds of the half to give her team a boost before it headed into the break.

In the first half of play, the Crimson racked up 13 turnovers. Before the game against the Bulldogs, the Harvard team averaged 13 turnovers per entire game. On the defensive side, Harvard had only forced the Yale squad into six turnovers in the first half. By the end of the second half, the team allowed the Bulldogs to capitalize on a whopping 21 turnovers. This number is the second highest for the Crimson this season, falling only behind the team’s game against Penn, when the team recorded 22 turnovers. Senior captain and midfielder Ilana Kofman noted some of the moments the team felt outmatched by Yale.

“They did a good job at finding the inside looks. I think we had a good amount of turnovers that we could have prevented. Staying confident on the ball is something we can work on in the next games,” Kofman said.

Notably, the Penn and Yale games are the only two Ivy League games the Crimson has lost this season. Coach Wills explained some of the frustration during the game in New Haven and the challenges faced against Yale.

“We had some unfortunate calls and they kind of swung the momentum,” she explained. “But also we’re looking to work on our transition and valuing the ball. Again, we had some unfortunate turnovers at pretty critical times and it almost felt like it was Harvard versus Harvard at times. But as a tribute to Yale, they rattled us and flustered us and maybe caused some of those things early on.”

Despite the struggle under Yale’s defensive pressure, Campbell, Hem and freshman Callie Batchelder were all able to score two goals during the contest. Campbell, the captain from Madison, N.J., continued her standout senior season, earning four points during the game. Hodgson and senior Maddie Barkate, a Crimson editor, were each able to notch one of their own, while Barkate recorded a dominant eight draw controls. Coach Wills highlighted Batchelder’s contributions as a rookie.

“She has seen some limited time this season but she’s on the rise. Against Yale she came in at some pretty critical times and was generating a lot with our offense,” the coach said. “She got some shooting space calls and finished her eight meters, so those were some positives.”

Although Harvard gave a valiant effort, the team struggled with consistent turnovers and penalties and was unable to mount a comeback in the fourth quarter. Yale consistently attacked Harvard’s senior goaltender Chloe Provenzano, racking up an impressive 27 shots compared to the Crimson’s 18. After two additional goals from Collignon in the fourth quarter and one from Ashley Kiernan, the Bulldogs officially secured the win. Despite the loss, Coach Wills emphasized Harvard’s resilience.

“The overall thought after the game was that we would love to see them again,” Wills noted.

Kofman echoed Coach Wills’ sentiments about the strength of the team this deep in the season.

“Although it was very disappointing for us to lose to our rivals, there was a lot to learn from that game. I think one thing that we did well and continue to do is just believing no matter how far down we are. We always believe in each other even though it did not go our way that day,” Kofman said.

Yale ranks first amongst the Ivy League teams and has clinched a spot in the conference tournament. The loss moves Harvard to the third ranked team, tied with Penn. As only the top four teams make the Ivy League tournament, the Crimson will look to defeat both Columbia and No. 17 Princeton in the coming weeks to defend its position and continue its season.

The team will travel to New York to square off against Columbia this Saturday at 1:00 p.m. The game will be streamed on ESPN+.

—Staff writer Laura Connor can be reached at

—Staff writer Isabel Smail can be reached at

—Staff writer Hannah Bebar can be reached at

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