Hoping that its dearth of offense against New Hampshire was an aberation, the Harvard field hockey team (1-1, 0-0 Ivy League) seeks more production when it faces Vermont this afternoon.
"UNH was very tenacious," said junior Penny Fairbairn. "They weren't giving anything away."
While Harvard outshot UNH, 24-8, in Sunday's game, 100 minutes of hockey passed without a goal. UNH goalie Amy Agulay made 23 saves, and Mary Pearsall stopped four more shots to thwart the Crimson in the shootout.
In the second shootout session, Kristen Wagner scored the decisive tally for UNH.
"It's a pity the game turned out the way it did," said sophomore Dominique Kalil. "We have to rebound."
UVM is traditionally a strong team, but Harvard has its own weapons. Characteristically, four different players scored in Saturday's 4-0 victory over Rhode Island.
The team shone offensively despite the absence of junior Judy Collins, who set school single-season records for both goals (13) and points (30) last year.
Collins, who played for the United States under-21 national team in Seoul, South Korea, returned to Cambridge on Monday.
Although the "4" side of the score bodes well for Harvard, the "0" excites coach Sue Caples.
For four consecutive periods of regulation and two overtime periods, sophomore Anya Cowan did not allow a goal.
Cowan has stymied opponents as solidly as she did last year, when she recorded 185 saves, an .841 save percentage, and a dazzling 1.74 goals-against average.
"Anya was outstanding last year in goal," Caples said. Kalil simply calls Cowan "phenomenal."
Harvard certainly played gritty defense against both Rhode Island and UNH. After grabbing an early 2-0 cushion against Rhode Island, Harvard kept battling and added two more scores in the final 15 minutes. That's a definite improvement from last year's team, which had trouble closing games at times.
The defense limited the amount of shots Cowan had to face. Against Rhode Island, the team scored off three short corners, which Kalil called a sign of hope.
Now all Harvard needs to do is reignite its offense. And with Collins back, the Crimson has potent fuel.
If Collins bolsters the offense and Cowan continues her goaltending magic, the only worry the team will have tomorrow night is the rush-hour traffic it faces when coming back from Vermont.