The Harvard field hockey team had battled hard against favored No. 10 New Hampshire and forced overtime on a late goal by freshman Catriona McDonald, knotting the score at three.
But after only a minute and half into overtime, the Wildcats (15-4, 4-1, AEC) struck the final blow with a well-placed shot to the top right corner, topping the Crimson (8-8, 3-3 Ivy), 4-3, at Jordan Field Sunday afternoon.
Despite the loss, spirits remained high on Senior Day, as the team was happy with its resilient play against their highly ranked opponent.
“It was a great battle,” co-captain Carly Dickson said. “I’m really proud of all the girls for how we responded, coming back after each of their goals during regulation and just battling hard the whole time. It was great.”
With around 10 minutes remaining in regulation, the Harvard defense faced a barrage of shots from the New Hampshire forwards, led by their captain, Whitney Frates. But the Crimson stopped the Wildcats from putting the game away, with junior goalie Cynthia Tassopoulos making several of her 14 saves on the day.
Having survived that onslaught unscathed, Harvard called for a timeout with about six minutes remaining, and Crimson coach Sue Caples decided to make some adjustments.
“We had a bit of a strategy change,” Caples said. “[We decided] to go for it, take some good risks and go for it. It was like, let’s see what we can do, [it] doesn’t matter if they score again, but let’s put ourselves out there, and we created some great opportunities.”
The new strategy quickly paid off. Soon after the timeout, junior forward Katelin Wahl drove down from half field to the New Hampshire circle and sent a backhand pass across the net to freshman Noel Painter.
Painter’s shot was stopped, but freshman Catriona McDonald was there to tap it into the goal.
Despite the Crimson’s valiant efforts to come back, the Wildcats broke the 3-3 tie early into the extra period, with Frates tallying her 24th goal of the season and second of the game.
But this didn’t ruin Senior Day, as co-captains Carly Dickson and Georgia McGillivray left Jordan Field for the last time on game day with their heads held high.
“I couldn’t have asked for a better senior day,” McGillivray said. “It was awesome. UNH is a fabulous opponent, [they’re] such a strong team, and everyone came out 110% today. It was a great day.”
“[It was] pretty emotional, definitely a special day for us,” Dickson added. “[I was] really happy we got to end with such a great game. It’s a good last game on Jordan Field.”
Harvard had to come from behind all day, as it was able to overcome three separate one-goal deficits.
New Hampshire opened the scoring eight minutes into the game with a shot from Frates that deflected off a Harvard defender and past Tassopoulus. The Crimson responded with McDonald’s first of two goals in the game, as she put away a rebound from a hard shot by freshman Kaitlyn Boudah.