The Northeastern Huskies women’s field hockey team did not play the part of a friendly cross-town neighbor to Harvard last night, sending the Crimson home in a lopsided shutout.
Northeastern freshman Crystal Poland and the Huskies (6-4) simply overwhelmed the Harvard Women’s field hockey team in the first half, scoring early and often to capture a 6-0 win over the Crimson (3-4, 0-2 Ivy).
Poland wasted no time in attacking, netting her first goal just over a minute into the contest by streaking to the net where junior forward Meg Sweeney found her for the assist.
The two-time CAA Rookie of the Week wasn’t done though, as she followed up a rebound off the post minutes later for her second score, and added another goal and two assists before the half.
Poland was the driving force behind the Northeastern offense, giving the Crimson problems from the beginning of the game.
“She [Poland] is a very fast, skillfull forward with great hands,” sophomore forward Allie Kimmel said. “I don’t think we put enough pressure on her at the beginning, but by the end we were getting our sticks in there and throwing her off.”
The Huskies attacked with tenacity throughout the half, outshooting Harvard 14-1 and it paid off. Carolyn Malloy capitalized off of an initial save by Crimson freshman keeper Cynthia Tassapoulos by putting a rebound into the back of the net at the 15:12 mark.
Poland then followed with an assist to Nicola Graham, who joined in the scoring parade. Goals by Poland and Malloy capped off the first-half scoring just minutes later.
“In the first half, the main issue was a lot of mental errors all over the field and they took advantage of it,” junior forward Chloe Keating said.
“Once we stepped up our defense and were accountable for our actions all over the field we were able to stop their scoring,” the forward added.
Mustering only five shots for the game, Harvard could never quite find an offensive flow to rival its opponent’s, and when they zeroed in on the net, Northeastern’s goaltender Lizzie Priest proved up to the task.
Keating, in her normal role as tipper, and sophomore Georgia McGillivray both had scoring opportunities late in the game that went just wide enough to see Priest preserve the shutout.
While the Crimson offense certainly never clicked, the second half defense tightened up to stifle the Husky assault. Despite the first-half onslaught, Tassapoulos recorded 11 saves and held Northeastern scoreless for the second half, while McGillivray earned a defensive save.
“[In the second half] we concentrated more on the little things. Our backs did a good job of marking their forwards,” Kimmel explained. “Georgia [McGillivray] did a great job on one of their best players [Poland] and really slow[ed] her down. We turned up the pressure and Cynthia [Tassapoulos] made some great saves.”
It was just too little, too late for Harvard, which suffered its fourth consecutive loss and looks forward to taking a positive step against Ivy League rival Brown at home on Saturday.
Kimmel and the team say they feel that this weekend’s matchup against Brown will be an important statement to themselves and their upcoming opponents.
“We are feeling like we can play a lot better,” she said. “Today was a turning point. We have decided there’s no way we can keep playing like this and it’s exciting to have a big Ivy League matchup this weekend after a couple of disappointing games.”