In a game of scoring spurts, Yale (6-1, 3-0 Ivy) made one more big run than arch-rival Harvard (3-3, 0-1) and that proved to be enough as the No. 13 Elis held on for a 9-8 win Saturday afternoon at Johnson Field. It was the fifth straight-win for the Elis, who are alone in first place in the Ivy League. It was also the fourth straight one-goal Yale win over Harvard.

“It was a game that was dominated in the midfield. There were a lot of turnovers forced by both teams,” midfielder Katie Sargent ’05 said. “We didn’t score as much as we’d hoped to, but in the end we were able to gut it out.”

Sargent and Clarissa Clarke ’03 each netted a hat trick.

Despite opening the second frame with a 6-4 lead, a three-goal burst by Harvard in the half’s first five minutes had Yale trailing, 7-6.

The Bulldogs wrested the momentum back, dominating much of the middle of the second half. A pair of goals from Clarke and another by Miles Whitman ’04 put Yale on top, 9-7 with eight minutes to play.

The Elis struggled to maintain possession of the ball in the final minutes, and some costly turnovers gave Harvard the chance for a comeback. The Crimson drew within one with just over a minute remaining, but Yale was able to gain possession of the ball for the final minute and run the clock down to zero.

“A lot of learning needs to be done from this game,” head coach Amanda O’Leary said. “When we had possession with five minutes left in the game, we panicked. We need to be able to control the possession.”

Goalkeeper Amanda Laws ’03, who made seven saves, was a big reason the Bulldogs mistakes did not come back to bite them. Laws replaced C.K. Barber ’02 in net at the start of the second, and after weathering Harvard’s three-goal storm in the half’s first five minutes, made a number of key stops to give Yale the win.

“We certainly had our chances,” said Harvard head coach Carole Kleinfelder, whose seniors never won versus Yale. “[Our players] wanted it bad. They certainly gave it everything they had.”

The opening minutes of play did not set the stage for the game’s eventual tight finish. Yale took control of the game early with goals by Sargent and Clarke to give Yale a 2-0 advantage four minutes into the game.

It took three straight Harvard goals for the Elis to display their early dominance again. After falling behind 3-2, Yale rattled off four in a row, including two by Sargent, to go back on top, 6-3.

Heading into halftime, it looked like the Elis had firmly taken control of the game, but a Crimson goal in the final seconds of the first half and the three-goal Harvard spurt in the second half made the game closer than it needed to be.

“We weren’t executing as well as we usually do,” said Sargent, noting missed passes in front of the Harvard net that squandered scoring chances. “We were lucky we came out with a win.”

Sargent, though, was firing on all cylinders. It was the second three-goal performance of the year for the newcomer, who has scored in all but one of Yale’s seven games.

“I wasn’t expecting this at all,” she said.

Notes: Although she did not make the box score, Caroline Petrovick’s ’03 defense forced two Harvard turnovers that led directly to two Yale goals — Sargent’s fellow freshman phenom, scoring threat Sarah Driscoll ’05, sat out the game with a sprained ankle suffered in practice on Friday. Driscoll was on crutches Saturday and O’Leary said she is unsure of when she will return. She will see the team doctor Monday.