The curtain closed on the Harvard field hockey team's cinderella season last night as Boston University shut out the Crimson, 3-0.
While extending their unbeaten streak to 10 games, the eight-ranked Terriers were as formidable as expected. The talented B.U. squad played razor sharp hockey, and quickly converted on its scoring opportunites.
And, Terriers goalie Lori Hey-wood, who had not allowed a goal in nearly 600 minutes of play, continued her dominance between the pipes. She handled most of the Crimson's shots with ease. Her capable defense also frustrated the Harvard offense by anticipating passes and protected Heywood from potential threats.
"We had our moments but we didn't penetrate the 25-yard line often enough," Harvard Coach Sue Caples said. "We needed to make their goalie play the ball."
Terriers Coach Sally Starr matter-of-factly appraised her team's performance.
Terriers Starr Defense
"I'm very pleased, our defense shut down their forward's play, which has been very dangerous," Starr said. "Our forwards are very quick and our midfielders follow fast behind them."
In the first half, B.U. made some impressive rushes against the Crimson defense. Although the ball flew off players' sticks and took some tough bounces along the way, Yadao managed to stop and safely clear many dangerous shots.
First Score of Game
Meridith Jennings, set up by Christine Blackwell and Chris Lapointe, scored to give B.U. a 1-0 lead 15 minutes into the game. In spite of the Terriers' momentum, the Harvard defense held strong under the attack of speedy forwards Lisa Barone and Leslie Ambinder.
Seniors Ceci Clark and Tina Lawler managed to sweep the ball from potential scorers, and Loren Ambinder (Leslie's twin sister) tenaciously tackled back.
With 10 minutes to play in the first half, the Terriers were awarded a penalty stroke after a Yadao save and a furious scramble ensued in front of the Crimson cage. Terries midfielder Robin Smith popped her shot by an outstretched Yadao to give the Terriers a two-goal advantage.
The Terriers weren't finished yet. Just two minutes into the second half, B.U. struck again as Barone' took Ambinder's feed and drilled it into the Harvard net to put the Terriers ahead 3-0.
The Terriers' third goal may have cemented its victory, but Harvard refused to pack it in. At times during the second half, the Crimson matched B.U. stride for stride while finally receiving some corner opportunites.
Adjustment to Turf
Harvard finished the game strongly, confidently controlling the ball and executing crisp passes, just as the Terriers had done from the outset. It took the Crimson some time to adjust to Nickerson Field's artificial turf, but Harvard refused to use the field as an excuse.
"The turf is an entirely different game, but we were outplayed," Gaffney said. "It may have put us at a disadvantage, but it's not an excuse."
"Good teams at the Division I level win on both surfaces, and B.U. was the better team today," Caples said. "But, we had an outstanding season with a solid veteran team and we obviously had many significant wins."
Terriers Face Penn State
Although it was disappointed with the outcome, Harvard players' comments suggested that the Crimson was putting the loss in perspective.
"We gave it our best effort, so we're not walking away with our heads down," senior Becky Gaffney said. "There have been a lot of accomplishments this season and we'll have good memories about this game even though we lost."
B.U. will face Penn State on Sunday in the NCAA quarterfinals.