Field Hockey Drops Nailbiter to N'Eastern
Huskies triumph 5-4 in shootout after two scoreless overtime periods
Unfortunately for the Harvard field hockey team, winning is not always a function of playing a good game.
After staying even with No. 11 Northeastern (11-6, 5-1 America East) through two sudden-death overtime periods, Harvard (7-8, 3-2 Ivy) fell shy of its bid at an upset victory when the Huskies outscored Harvard 5-4 in the shootout to record a 2-1 victory yesterday at Cumnock Field.
"It's always unfair not to win after playing such a great game," said junior goalkeeper Anya Cowan, whose seven saves held Northeastern scoreless through two 15-minute overtime periods. "The final score didn't reflect how well we played. We just didn't capitalize on our opportunities."
In the shootout, each team had five penalty strokes to score as many goals as they could. Huskies' senior defender Hilary McHugh, who leads the team with 13 goals, sealed the victory for Northeastern by scoring their fifth goal in the shootout after Crimson co-captain Tara LaSovage converted Harvard's fourth penalty stroke on the Crimson's last shot.
Freshman midfielder Eliza Dick missed her penalty stroke for Harvard after co-captain Judy Collins, junior back Katie Schoolwerth and sophomore forward Jennifer Crusius were successful in their attempts.
"It was very disappointing to lose because this was one of our better games of the seasor," LaSovage said. "We played really well, and it was tough to walk away without the result we wanted."
Harvard struggled to get results on the offensive end against red-hot Huskies' goalkeeper Kathleen Madaus. The freshman has pitched six solo shutouts this season, earning her five America East Rookie of the Week awards. She held No. 16 Boston University scoreless in a 3-0 victory over the Terriers last Sunday.
But even Madaus could not stop Collins, who added to her school record for career points with another goal. She leads the Ivy League with 16 goals and 34 points this season, another Harvard record.
Collins' goal came 27 seconds after Huskies' senior forward Karrie Danilecki opened the scoring 16 minutes into the game with her 10th goal of the season. But the Crimson shut down Northeastern for the next 84 minutes before playing its first shoot-out of the season.
"There wasn't much more we could have done today," said sophomore back Maisa Badawy, who anchored the defensive effort along with Schoolwerth and Cowan.
Harvard has to do more in its last two games of the season. The Crimson needs to have at least a .500 record to be eligible for the four-team ECAC Tournament, which means it must win its remaining contests against Ancient Eight rivals Brown and Dartmouth.
But Harvard may be playing its best hockey of the season. The Crimson has lost three games in a row, but all of those defeats came at the sticks of ranked teams: No. 11 Northeastern, No. 4 Princeton and No. 6 Boston College. Yesterday's shoot-out nailbiter showed that Harvard can compete with the best teams in the country, which it will need to do to qualify for the ECAC Tournament.
"We are at a really good spot right now," LaSovage said. "We are more composed, making better decisions and trusting each other. I enjoyed the excitement of today's game, but it was bittersweet to come away with the loss."