The contest was particularly critical to Harvard (11-4), given the high likelihood of No. 8 Princeton clinching the Ivy League title on November 7 against Penn. If the Tigers win the league championship, Harvard will need an at-large berth to advance to the NCAA tournament.
To many, Harvard’s victory represents the first step in its campaign toward earning that at-large spot.
“I felt like we wouldn’t have a chance [for the playoffs] if we didn’t win today,” tri-captain midfielder Kate McDavitt said. “Going in, I knew that we needed to be on top of our game, or the season would be over, most likely. But I felt good physically, and it all came together.”
Indeed, the team was led on both sides of the ball by none other than its captains.
Tri-captain goaltender Katie Zacarian increased her school record for shut-outs to 24 as she and the Harvard defense staved off an energetic Terrier attack.
“K.Z. came through again—she played really, really well,” junior midfielder Kate Gannon said. “She came up strong and the defense did a great job, especially with organization, back there. It basically stopped up any and all potential breakaways. [Boston University] had their opportunities and nothing came of them because the defense was ready.”
Kate McDavitt, meanwhile, continued a hot-streak of her own as she netted two goals in the victory, notching her team-leading eighth and ninth scores of the season.
Her first goal—also the first score of the contest—came in particularly outstanding fashion.
On a beautifully designed play during a penalty corner, McDavitt unassumingly lined up to the right of the circle as B.U. focused its attention to the top of the arc. But senior forward Mina Pell delivered the corner directly to McDavitt, who dribbled up and found the left side of the net open, leaving the Terriers (8-10) dumbfounded.
“The play definitely threw them off guard,” Gannon said. “Kate had a really good, solid shot, and she found the hole she needed. That’s the way the play is designed to work.”
The McDavitt-Pell connection continued later in the contest, as Pell added a score of her own by one-timing a McDavitt shot that had deflected off the chest of the Boston University goaltender.
Junior midfielder Shelley Maasdorp added the third score of the game when she swept to the right of the goal and slammed the ball into the corner of the net, finally bringing an end to a flurry of Harvard shots on goal.
Maasdorp unfortunately sustained a sudden shoulder injury soon after and was forced to leave the game. The mishap occurred on a collision with a running Terrier player, but the exact nature and details of the injury are currently unknown.
Sources close to the team say that she will probably seek x-rays within the coming days.
With this crucial game in the books, the Crimson continues its quest for the playoffs as it faces another must-win situation against Dartmouth on Saturday in its last home game of the year.
“[These games] are absolutely essential for any post-season berth,” Gannon said. “We need to win big. Today we came through. It’s a testament to our team that we could bounce back after [the Princeton game] and follow it with a victory like this. It’s just really good for us, and hopefully it keeps our postseason chances alive.”