The Harvard field hockey team finally got the offensive performance it was looking for at Penn on Saturday.
Having scored three goals in its first five games this season, the Crimson built off its 28 shots in the previous two contests and matched its season total with three goals against the Quakers.
But that wasn’t enough, as Penn netted four goals and defeated Harvard, 4-3, dropping the Crimson (1-5, 0-2 Ivy) for the first time in three years.
“They have a history of having high-scoring games,” co-captain Kim Goh said. “It was back and forth for a while. We were so close to getting right back in there and having a solid overtime, but it didn’t go our way [Saturday].”
Each team traded off goals in the first half, with Harvard opening the scoring.
But the Quakers (5-3, 1-1 Ivy) evened it at two at the 23:49 mark.
But Penn was able to jump ahead just 35 seconds before the break with a goal by senior midfielder Sarah Hasson. The Quakers made it 4-2 soon after the start of the second half thanks to another Hasson score.
The Crimson made a late push, with sophomore forward Noel Painter pulling Harvard to within one at 58:56, but the Crimson couldn’t find the equalizer in the final 11 minutes.
“We were just thinking to create opportunities in the circle, especially on short corners,” Painter said. “We were just trying to push forward and have an attack mentality. We had a lot of chances, but we unfortunately weren’t able to score in time.”
Ten minutes into the game, Crimson senior forward Emma Keller scored the first of the seven goals on the day, with sophomore Sydney Jenkins earning the assist.
Penn responded eight minutes later when Quaker freshman Elizabeth Hitti beat junior goalie Jenn Hatfield. Hatfield finished with three saves on the day.
Harvard regained the edge when sophomore forward Kaitlyn Boudah scored on a penalty corner, but the Quakers made it a tie game once again just 131 seconds later, also on a penalty-corner goal.
It looked as if both teams would enter halftime with two goals, but Penn broke the deadlock before the break and then followed up with another score early in the second to take a 4-2 lead.
“The last minute of the first half and the second half, we were [trying] to refocus a little bit and try to regain the momentum in our favor,” Painter said. “We weren’t able to, but we gave it a shot.”
With the game winding down and the Crimson making a push, Painter put one past Quaker goalkeeper Carly Sokach after dribbling the ball up to the circle and firing a shot into the left corner of the net. The goal marked the second time in the contest—and, according to Painter, the second time this season—that the Crimson scored in field play.
But Harvard couldn’t find the back of the net in the remaining 11 minutes, and, despite outshooting the Quakers, 12-7, the Crimson fell, 4-3.
“We gave a lot; it shows sort of in the score,” Goh said. “Seven goals in a game is pretty uncommon. We definitely got it down there, and we needed one more to keep us in there, but we weren’t able in the last couple seconds.”
Harvard had its best offensive production Saturday against the Quakers but also gave up the most goals against this season as well. The team will look to make the necessary adjustments in future contests.
“Playing 70 minutes doesn’t mean going all out for 70 minutes,” Goh said. “It means playing smart for 70 minutes, so we’re focusing more on that.... We’re trying to move forward and get a better outcome hopefully on Monday against Bryant.”
—Staff writer David Mazza can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.