In just one game they have gone from the top spot to the hot spot.
And as a result. their dream season is hanging by a thread.
For with the Harvard field hockey squad's 2-0 upset loss at the hands of Brown Satur. day, the Crimson stickwomen have tumbled from atop the Ivy League standings. Their entire season and a first ever Ivy title now hinges on a date at Yale this Saturday.
Harvard's loss at Brown combined with the University of Pennsylvania's surprising 2-1 win over Dartmouth have vaulted the Quakers into sole possession of first place in the Ivy League race crown Penn's 5.1 league mark has assured the Philadelphians of at least after for the league crown, with only Harvard. currently 4.1. capable of catching them.
And to do that, the Crimson must defeat Yale.
"As far as the playoffs are concerned." Captain Juliet Lamont said, "we know we've got to beat Yale."
A Harvard win this Saturday over the Bulldogs would force a one-game playoff with Penn for the title and the accompanying NCAA tourney berth. The Crimson. 3-1 victors over Penn earlier this year, would meet the Quakers on artificial turf (according to an Ivy vote on playoff rules) at a neutral site to be determined.
"But even more than the playoffs," Lamont added. "I think a lot of people would like to beat Yale just to regain some pride."
But pre-Brown, the prospect of fighting for a playoff berth or lost pride hadn't really crossed the Crimson minds. Harvard was the Cinderella story of the Ivies, a previously undefeated team that many times had overcome more talented squads with just sheer determination.
On Saturday in Providence, however, the bubble burst.
The host Bruins struck quickly, converting a sure penalty shot into the game's first score at the 15:36 mark. That Jane Hetrich stroke gave Brown the only goal it would need on the afternoon. Sheila McCarthy provided the insurance, though, at just 1:50 of the second, when a Crimson defensive breakdown allowed her to sneak through the Harvard zone and beat a helpless Lamont.
"I don't think it was that we really played badly," Lamont said," as much as it was that they really wanted to beat us. We didn't really understand what was happening until it was a bit late."
Now 7-6 overall, the Cantabs still have an outside shot at an at large bid to the NCAA tourney. But the most direct route would be that first ever Ivy title.
When only means that this Saturday's showdown in New Haven has quickly become the Crimson's biggest game in recent history.
THE NOTEBOOK: Harvard had one goal called back Saturday. when one official ruled that an Fllen O'Neill shot from outside the penalty circle did not touch another Crimson stick on the way in (as it must)... Lamont and Bruin goalie Mara Spaulder each recorded six saves. Both squads had nine shots on goal.