Terps Crack Field Hockey's Defense

Jessica E. Zbikowski

Harvard freshman goaltender Kelly Knoche had her streak of four consecutive shutouts snapped by No. 2 Maryland in a 1-0 defeat at Jordan Field yesterday.

Netminder Kelly Knoche had not allowed a goal all year, and yesterday, the Harvard field hockey team was hoping that the streak would claim its fifth and most impressive victim in No. 2 Maryland.

The precocious freshman nearly made their wish come true.

The Crimson (4-1, 1-0 Ivy) allowed its first and only goal of the season in a 1-0 loss to the Terrapins (9-0) at Jordan Field, two days after beating Holy Cross by a score of 3-0.


Unranked Harvard became the first team to hold Maryland to one goal or less since national champion Wake Forest in the 2004 NCAA semifinals.

The last time the Crimson and Maryland met was in 2003, when the Terrapins won 5-1.

But, of course, all it takes is one goal for a gem to become a loss.

“Today wasn’t a moral victory,” Harvard coach Sue Caples summarized. “It was a good test.”

Knoche, to her credit, passed with flying colors. She recorded seven saves against a national power that spent almost the entire game on the Crimson’s side of the field.

The Terps challenged her and senior backfield leader Beth Sackovich with 11 penalty corners to Harvard’s none, and with 17 shots as opposed to the Crimson’s one.

“She and the defense own the circle, and we were able to hold our own,” Caples said.

The lone score of the game came from Maryland forward Jackie Ciconte at 10:50, when she commandeered a shot attempt from teammate Sarah Scholl and dove to beat Knoche to the back of the cage.

The Harvard offense was never able to retaliate thereafter.

Maryland goalie Kathryn Masson only needed one save for the shutout as the Crimson wasn’t able to get a shot beyond freshman Tami Jafar’s first-half volley.

The Terrapins, meanwhile, kept threatening with eight penalty corners in the second half alone.

“[Kelly] made some great saves for us out there,” Caples said. “She was calm and composed.”

In the end, the Crimson kept it close as it gets.

“We weren’t intimidated. We tried to keep it simple,” captain midfielder Jen McDavitt said.

Her coach commended the effort.

“The biggest adjustment was the speed of execution, and we matched their intensity and played our own game,” Caples said. “We battled a very tough team, and managed to contain their strengths.”

Harvard will travel to face another nationally ranked opponent in No. 11 Connecticut this Wednesday at 4 p.m.


Friday afternoon, the Crimson continued its unbeaten and unscored-upon streak, blanking Holy Cross (3-4) 3-0 in Worcester.

Senior midfielder Jane Sackovich scored what would end up being the winning goal with only 31 seconds left in the first half. She ripped the ball through a crowd in front of the cage and past Crusaders netminder Sony Kuhn, notching her first score of the season unassisted.

Sackovich struck again soon after the intermission, taking advantage of a Holy Cross defensive mistake and leveling another unassisted shot past Kuhn for a 2-0 lead 2:02 into the second period.

McDavitt gave the Crimson some insurance with her second goal of the season, an unassisted shot in front of the cage with 6:29 remaining in the game.

Harvard out-shot the Crusaders 10-3 and gained a 4-1 edge in penalty corners.

The Crimson defense maintained its sterling record, shutting out its fourth consecutive opponent. During the run, Harvard outscored opponents 9-0.

Knoche made two saves on the day. The freshman phenom gave way to sophomore Siobhan Connolly with a little under five minutes left in the contest. In her first action of her college career, Connolly made one save to preserve the shutout.

—Staff writer J. Patrick Coyne can be reached at coyne@fas.harvard.edu.

—Staff writer Pablo S. Torre can be reached at torre@fas.harvard.edu.