CHESTNUT HILL--The women's varsity field hockey team soundly defeated the University of California at Berkeley, 3-0, under the lights of Boston College's Alumni Stadium last night. It was the first time ever Harvard has played Cal (3-4, 3-1 North Pacific).
With last night's win and Tuesday's victory over UNH, the Crimson (4-7, 0-3 Ivy) has finally turned their season around after a four-game losing streak and started winning games. And they're doing it the old fashioned way--they're scoring goals. Lots of them.
Junior sweeper Daphne Clark is continuing to capitalize off of corner shots, scoring her sixth goal of the season 7:16 into the game. Junior Courtney Benedict and co-captain Carrie Shumway were credited with the assists, the other components in Harvard's main corner battery.
Harvard is scoring from the field as well. Freshman forward Judy Collins scored her second goal of the season on a hard power shot that slammed into the back of the goalie box 8:38 into the second half.
Cal had a late offensive rally in the game, but goalie Jessica Milhollin held her ground and had a couple of fantastic saves (six saves) during this Bear rally to keep the westerners scoreless.
Proving that its new offensive success is not a fluke, Harvard answered with a third goal with only 2:08 left in the game. Collins trapped a breakaway pass while racing down the left wing and made a perfect cross pass to fellow forward Benedict, who drove the ball into the goal. This is especially difficult coming down the left wing, since a player is only allowed to use the left side of her stick.
On the other end, Clark kept the defense organized and skillfully turned back every Cal-Berkeley offensive assaults, holding the Bears to eight shots while the Crimson managed 17.
In short, Harvard dominated the whole game offensively and defensively.
"A shutout is a nice thing to do." Harvard coach Sue Caples said.
The victory was also the Crimson's first of the season on artificial turf. Its home field is grass. About 40 percent of the teams nationwide play on astroturf, so teams must be able to excel on both.
However, the primary importance of the win is that it continues Harvard's resurgence.
"We played hard. We played confidently. That's a great sign at this point of the season," Caples said. "We're making better shots. We're pulling the trigger. Luck is hard work and preparation."
The wins over Cal and UNH have certainly turned around this team. After a four-game winless and scoreless streak, Harvard is taking advantage of its offensive opportunities and winning games.
"We're sick and tired of losing... We're finally realizing we have to finish it... Each person is giving that extra effort," Benedict said.
The Crimson's next game is Wednesday at home against nationally ranked Boston College.