No. 4 Duke Shuts Out Harvard
October 02, 2005
Damn those Devils. The tough times continued for the Harvard field hockey team, as No. 4 Duke bested the Crimson 6-0 yesterday afternoon at Jordan Field. With the loss, Harvard (5-4) dropped its third straight, and the six-goal margin was the greatest since last November, when then-No. 2 Wake Forest bested the Crimson 7-1 in the first round of the NCAA Tournament. The Blue Devils (9-2) got on the board just over nine minutes into the action, with midfielder Amy Stopford hitting pay-dirt on a rocket from the top of the circle off a penalty corner. Five and a half minutes later, Duke again capitalized on the penalty corner, as forward Katie Grant tipped a straight shot from midfielder Julie Tromp into the cage. Grant got her second score of the game just a minute and a half before intermission, swatting a lofted shot from forward Cara-Lynn Lopresti into the net from the right post. Harvard could not get any momentum going and trailed 3-0 at the half, already allowing more goals in a game than it had all year. The Blue Devils continued to swarm on offense, and Stopford struck again quickly once play resumed, doubling up with an assist from midfielder Laura Suchowski a little over four minutes into the half. Midfielders Julie Tromp and Marian Dickinson wrapped up the scoring for Duke, tallying goals at the 50:19 and 66:29 mark, respectively. Despite forays into the Blue Devil circle and a couple penalty corners, the Crimson could not manage to level a shot at goalie Caitlin Williams. Duke out-shot Harvard 26-0, and worked a 12-2 advantage in penalty corners. The Blue Devils capitalized on the corner as well, scoring on three of them. "Playing such skilled teams is a great opportunity for us whether or not we win because we are able to see what we aspire to," captain midfielder Jen McDavitt said. "These are the kind of games that will carry us through the end of the season and prepare us for the kind of teams that we hope to meet in the NCAA tourney." The 26 shots faced were a season-high for the Crimson, and the zero shots taken were a season-low. After shutting out its first four opponents and giving up four goals in its first eight games, the Harvard defense seemed impenetrable. Yet Duke combined speed, precise passing, and relentless pursuit to great success. Freshman keeper Kelly Knoche, who has been among the nation’s leaders in goals-against average and save percentage all year, made 12 saves on the day, her career high for a single game. "Coming out of this game, I think our team will focus on increasing our speed of play and working on our execution," junior forward Gretchen Fuller said. "Duke was a good model for both of these elements, and having had the opportunity to play them will only help us raise our level of hockey." The Crimson will next square off against neighborhood nemesis No. 12 Northeastern on Wednesday at 4 pm in Boston, the first of four New England road games Harvard will play in the next two and one half weeks. —Staff writer J. Patrick Coyne can be reached at email@example.com.