Field Hockey Falls to Eighth-Ranked UConn on Fluke Goal
For the briefest of moments yesterday, the Harvard field hockey team was tied with the No. 8 team in the country.
And then, in a way that no one could have imagined, it was gone, as UConn averted a major upset with a 2-1 victory at Cumnock Field.
Co-captain Daphne Clark had scored Harvard's first goal on a penalty corner, evening the score with only 17:26 left in the game. The tally energized the Crimson, as the bench shouted, "It's a new game!". But the Huskies came out reinvigorated as well, determined to quickly regain the lead.
It only took 47 seconds, with a little bit of help from the Harvard men's lacrosse team. UConn quickly shoved the ball into the Harvard arc, at which point a lacrosse coach blew a whistle during the team's practice at the adjoining facility.
The Harvard defense thought that some foul had been called and stopped playing; Husky attacker Alison Sharpe knew better.
"I just heard [teammate] Rose [Aspelin] behind me telling me to keep playing and I kept playing," Sharpe said. "That there was another whistle involved, and it was from the other field. It's the management's problem."
What Aspelin told her to do was simple: hit that ball at that big cagething. 2-1, UConn.
"It's tough when you're the defensive team back there, because when something like that happens on offense, you fire it in, while defensively you play for that whistle and then you stop," Harvard coach Sue Caples said.
"It's an unfortunate situation, but it's not the reason why we lost the game--we had chances to win the game, and that's my focus."
This was not a game in which UConn (8-0) dominated everything and Harvard (3-2, 0-0 Ivy) somehow scraped together a shot and a lucky goal. Especially in the second half, the contest was dead even and could have easily gone either way. The Crimson was outshot, 23-6, but both teams had 10 penalty corners.
Harvard's goal was created by one of its best offensive runs, a series of three corners in a row. The first one resulted in an unsafe shot by freshman Katie Schoolwerth, the second in a shot by junior Beck Stringer and a good leg save by Husky goalie Tricia Betts and the third in a goal.
Usually on penalty corners, Harvard has two main batteries--sopho-more Judy Collins stopping the ball for Schoolwerth and sophomore Tara LaSovage stopping for Clark--but this time, when junior Amy DiMarzio passed to Collins, Clark shifted over to that side and smacked a shot diagonally across the crease into the opposite corner past Betts.
That goal proved to everyone that Harvard had a real shot to win this, a fact that UConn seemed to take offense at.
"The intensity picked up once we realized it was a [tie] game again," Sharpe said. "I didn't want to lose this game, I know no one else did--we wanted to [stay] undefeated."
After Sharpe scored, it was the Crimson's turn to pick up the pace. For a seven-minute stretch, Harvard had two corners and numerous other scoring opportunities, and forced UConn to take a timeout, but the Crimson couldn't get the ball past Betts again.
"When there's time and there's opportunity, you have to believe that you can get something," Caples said. "There was a period that last 15 minutes, we had great field position and great passing--other than that, everyone was just mucking it out there."
The muddy field did seem to even things up a bit. This was UConn's first road game of the season, meaning that it was also its first divot-filled soaked grass game of the year as well.
In the first half, however, UConn controlled most of the tempo, coming awfully close to scoring a number of times in the first seven minutes before Harvard was able to settle its defense down. But the Huskies later scored the first goal of the game on a penalty corner, when sophomore Jessica Inteman lifted the pass from Meredith Kirk-patrick into the chest of freshman goalie Anya Cowan, who deflected the ball in front of her.
A pack of Huskies was waiting right there for the rebound, and it was Inteman that put the ball past Cowan.
Harvard's next game is its first Ivy League contest, against Yale at home Saturday at 1 p.m. First Half UConn--Inteman 16:58. Second Half Har--Clark (DiMarzio, Collins) 17:26 UConn--Sharpe 16:13. Saves: UConn--Betts 8; Har--Cowan 14. Penalty Corners: UConn--10; Har--10.
Har--Clark (DiMarzio, Collins) 17:26
Saves: UConn--Betts 8; Har--Cowan 14.
Penalty Corners: UConn--10; Har--10.