Hartwick, which is the highest-ranked team that Harvard has faced this year and had won 13 straight entering the game, took command of the game from the opening whistle.
In the first quarter, the Hawks put away three goals to establish a comfortable lead, and by halftime, they had stretched that to a 7-1 margin.
“We got outplayed, and we got out-executed,” head coach Erik Farrar said. “We need to do a better job of putting the ball in the back of the net.”
The Crimson finally found a way to stifle the Hawks offense in the third. During that eight-minute stretch, Harvard shut out the Hawks attack by playing solid, mistake-free defense.
But it was unable to continue that effort into the fourth quarter, as Hartwick came roaring back to score five goals to close out the game.
“It is a question of 32 minutes: can you bring the very highest level of your performance for that length of time?” Farrar said. “Against Hartwick, that is a very serious charge.”
Inconsistency is often a trademark of youth. One of the few constants in the Crimson’s play, however, has been solid goaltending, and Saturday was no exception. Freshman Ariel Delgado posted a solid 12-save performance in the losing effort.
“I was proud of them,” Farrar said of his team. “They were clawing and kicking and punching the whole way through.”
Harvard received goals from sophomore Devon MacLaughlin and freshmen Kelley Peeler and Roxanne Pinto.
“We got overwhelmed,” senior captain Lauren Snyder said. “But we kept fighting for the whole game and we never gave up.”
The opportunity to play against—and learn from—such talented teams as the Hawks will benefit the young Crimson squad in the future.
“You get a chance to find out what you are made of,” Farrar said. “Every time we play them, we learn something about ourselves, and we file that away.”
The Crimson will not have to wait long to show what it has learned. Harvard has a date with No. 19 Brown, which suffered a 16-5 loss to Hartwick on Thursday.
When the two teams last met, the Crimson hung with the Bears until halftime in an eventual 8-3 loss.
“We have been gelling as a team,” Snyder said. “If we stick to what we know we can do, then we will have a really exciting game against them on Thursday.”
—Staff writer Julia R. Senior can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.