Penalty corners were the Harvard field hockey team’s downfall in Sunday’s loss to Bucknell at Jordan Field.
The Bison doubled the Crimson in penalty corners, taking 12 to the Harvard’s six. And while Bucknell made Harvard pay by scoring two of their three scores off of corners, the Crimson went zero for six, and the Bison emerged with a 3-1 victory.
“They weren’t dominating us by any means,” co-captain midfielder Kim Goh said. “A couple of corners we didn’t even think should be called, so that was a bit sticky…. But there’s very little you can do to control that portion of the game.”
The Crimson (3-8, 1-2 Ivy) went into halftime down, 2-0, failing to find the cage on any of its seven first-half shots.
Harvard scored early in the second frame, but the Bison (8-6, 2-0 Patriot) kept their opponent off the board the rest of the way.
“I think we had build-up at times but we still need to work on consistency,” Goh said.
After being held scoreless for the first 42 minutes, the home team was finally able to capitalize when sophomore midfielder Sydney Jenkins sent in a long bouncing ball for junior forward Rachael Rosenfeld, who tipped it into the cage.
“I was just down in the circle and saw Sydney winding up, and I was like, ‘gotta tap it, gotta tap it,’” Rosenfeld said.
The Crimson seemed to be on the comeback, as Harvard co-captain Cynthia Tassopoulos followed with three straight saves in goal, and Harvard continued to send shots at the Bison goal.
“I think we did well with passing inside the midfield and getting the ball up to the circle,” Rosenfeld said. “We just need to finish more.”
The Crimson’s closest chance came off a Goh penalty stroke that hit the side bar and bounced out.
“We were a little unlucky in the second half,” Harvard coach Tjerk van Herwaarden said. “I still feel we are a little more reacting, which means more than often we will be too late, instead of anticipating.”
Bucknell sealed the win when senior midfielder Kelly Stefanowicz scored off a penalty corner in the final three minutes for her second goal of the game.
Stefanowicz opened the scoring in the 18th minute off a penalty corner. The senior registered a shot that deflected off the leg pads of a diving Tassopoulos to put the Bison up, 1-0.
Bucknell struck again just seconds before the break when Leigh Hillman deflected a shot into the goal.
A bright spot for the Crimson was the defensive play of back Rebecca Houser, a junior who missed her first two seasons due to injury,
“Rebecca Houser played very well,” van Herwaarden said. “She’s in a tough role not always playing as much, and I think she stepped up. Her team needed her today, and I think she did very well.”
With five games remaining—four of which are against Ivy League opponents—Harvard still believes it has room to grow.
“We are in a process,” van Herwaarden said. “We need to make…sure that we are able to play this game faster, a little better, more secure in our reception and passing, and just overall grow.”
“We still don’t feel like we’re really showing off what we can do yet,” Goh said. “So being mentally ready is always the thing we’re trying to work on."