Duke 4, Harvard 2
With Duke enjoying a 4-0 lead, the Harvard field hockey team called a timeout that seemed to epitomize its future.
"We were all pretty frustrated," said junior Judy Collins. "Things weren't going our way. But [Coach Sue Caples] said, 'I don't care what the score is. Just go out and fight."
Despite goals from senior co-captain Amy DiMarzio and Collins, the Crimson (5-7, 2-2 Ivy) lost, 4-2. Coming off a 3-2 loss to William and Mary last Friday, the Duke loss dropped Harvard two games below .500.
Now, with just six games remaining in the season, Collins is mixing pragmatism with optimism.
"We have nothing to lose," Collins said. "We can only improve our record from now on. Over the weekend, we probably played our best field hockey of the season. We need to continue how we played."
Collins said that the team played its best game of the season against the Blue Devils. However, two Duke penalty strokes cost Harvard a chance at victory.
"Penalty strokes are almost impossible to save," Collins said.
Mary Jo Reider converted on the first Duke penalty stroke with 14:25 remaining in the first half. Melissa Panasci knocked home a penalty corner for a 2-0 Blue Devil advantage entering the half.
The second half, though, reflected much more of the mirror image between the two teams.
Initially, Duke (8-5, 1-0 ACC) seemed ready for a rout. Once again, Duke received a penalty stroke, and for the second time in the game, Reider converted it. Panasci then drove in another penalty corner to make it 4-0.
Then Harvard retaliated.
DiMarzio knocked in a rebound off junior Caroline Johnston's shot with 19:17 to play in the second half. Collins scored her sixth goal of the year at 14:55 remaining, pulling Harvard within 4-2.
"Duke played similar to us," Collins said. "It worked to our advantage. We knew what was going on."
Although Duke was undoubtably its toughest opponent thus far in the season, the Crimson held its own and even dominated play for a large part of the contest.
"We played right with them," Collins said. "We came up with a lot of balls. After the timeout, we had the ball in our circle for the rest of the game."
William & Mary 3, Harvard 2
Last Friday, Harvard had to swallow a heartache sandwich served by William & Mary. The meat of the loss--a three-goal spurt by the Tribe--was placed between two solid Harvard scoring efforts.
Junior Caroline Johnston and Collins were the heroes of this game for Harvard, with each scoring a goal.
The Crimson came out slowly, but posted a 1-0 lead in the first 20 minutes. However, in the last 20 minutes, Harvard trailed, 3-1. Then the Crimson scored again.
"We really played hard and well, but we couldn't get the trying goal in the net," Collins said.
In the game, William & Mary capitalized on its stacked formation, which packed the team upfield and forced the Harvard forwards to play defense. Duke, by contrast, played more spread out.
Harvard fared better on its corners against Duke, although the Crimson did not score off a corner.
"We got good shots off," Collins said. "People were getting rebounds. The corners looked really good."
Each team received eight corners in Saturday's game. Overall, Duke outshot Harvard, 19-12, with sophomore Anya Cowan needing to make 13 saves. The four goals allowed by Harvard were a season high.
On Wednesday against No. 15 Boston College, Harvard must struggle back to post-season contention. The Eagles represent the first step towards redemption. Scoring Duke--Reider (penalty stroke) 14:25. Duke--Panasci (Ford, Breyer) 6:09. Duke--Reider (penalty stroke) 29:30. Duke--Panasci (Ford, Breyer) 27:03. Har--DiMarzio (Johnston) 19:17. Har--Collins (Johnston) 14:55. Saves: Har--Cowan 13; Duke--Doherty 7.
Duke--Reider (penalty stroke) 14:25.
Duke--Panasci (Ford, Breyer) 6:09.
Duke--Reider (penalty stroke) 29:30.
Duke--Panasci (Ford, Breyer) 27:03.
Har--DiMarzio (Johnston) 19:17.
Har--Collins (Johnston) 14:55.
Saves: Har--Cowan 13; Duke--Doherty 7.