Stickwomen's Ivy Hopes Dashed
HANOVER, N.H.--They'll remember this as the place where the dreams of the 1984 Harvard field hockey squad became nothing more than just dreams.
As a result of its 2-0 loss to Dartmouth before 250 fans on Red Rolfe Field Saturday, the Harvard field hockey team has been pushed to the brink of elimination in the race for the 1984 Ivy League crown.
For league leading Dartmouth (now 4 0 in the Ivies), however, the win moves them two-and-half games ahead of the Crimson (now 1-2 in the Ivies).
And to make matters worse, the Crimson's got just three league games to go.
So if the Harvard squad--considered at season's start the dream team of the Ivies--harbors any hopes of catching the Big Green, it's only because the Crimson stick women remember what happened to them a year ago.
For after they grabbed a 4-0 Ivy record last year, disaster quickly struck and left the Cantabs holding a 4-1-1 record and a disappointing second place league finish.
Realistically, though, the Crimson squad realizes that this year's run for the roses is all but over, too.
If the Crimson (now 4-7 overall) were to win those final three league games, and even if disaster were to strike in Hanover, the Crimson could, at best, only tie the Big Green for first place.
That's a devastating blow to the senior-laden Harvard squad, which many thought at season's start would bring home the Crimson's first-ever league crown.
Crimson Coach Edie Mabrey had even admitted at season's start that, "There's a feeling that if we're going to do it, we're going to do it this year."
But what ultimately killed Harvard's hopes Saturday is the same thing that's killed them all year--an inability to convert numerous shots into scores.
Saturday's disappointing defeat, which came just three days after the Crimson's 1-0 upset of the nation's sixth-ranked University of Massachusetts squad, was Harvard's seventh shutout loss of the year.
Not so coincidentally, every time Harvard has failed to score it has failed to win.
And while the Crimson offense was sputtering Saturday, so too was the Crimson defense, which once again allowed the Big Green to penetrate deep into the Harvard zone.
The costliest mistake came midway through the first period, when the Big Green's top scoring threat--Sally Crane--beat Harvard's last line of defense and unleashed a rocket at Crimson freshman goalie Kristen Abely.
That goal was all the Big Green would need, but a closing minute in insurance goal locked up the victory.
THE NOTEBOOK: Harvard travels to the University of Rhode Island Tuesday... The Crimson must win its final four games to avoid its first losing season in three years... Two of the Crimson's final three league games are at home.