After 39 minutes of field hockey action, New Hampshire sophomore forward Meg Flaherty shot from the left side of the goal. The ball would find the back of the net, giving the Wildcats (5-4, 0-0) a 2-1 lead on Flaherty’s second goal of the game. Harvard (2-4, 1-1) was unable to mount a comeback in the second half, eventually falling to New Hampshire, 3-1, at Memorial Field on Sunday afternoon.
Though the Crimson failed to score in the second half, it was not for a lack of chances. In the final fifteen minutes, Harvard earned three penalty corners and fired four shots, three of which were on goal.
A late goal by Wildcat senior forward Hannah Richard took away any chance the Crimson had for tying the game in the last few minutes. Even though Harvard allowed the late goal, junior forward Noel Painter thought the team improved its play near the end of the game.
“In the last seven minutes, we were really pressuring UNH when they had the ball in their backfield,” Painter said. “That forced some turnovers that we tried to take advantage of. If we had been able to start forcing those bad passes earlier in the game, I think we would have been able to score again.”
Though the Crimson failed to score during the team’s aggressive finish, Harvard came out strong against New Hampshire, scoring just 12 minutes into the game.
After a deflected shot, Crimson senior forward Rachael Rosenfeld found herself in front of the goal with the ball and put it in the back of the cage. The goal was not without controversy, however, as the Wildcats argued that the ball hit a player’s hand before Rosenfeld scored.
“Everyone thought the ref was going to call it and stop the play,” Painter said. “Everyone on both teams stopped moving for a split-second expecting a call, when there wasn’t one Rachael shot it into the back of the net.”
The goal would stand, but New Hampshire was able to answer just four minutes later with the first of Flaherty’s two goals. The Wildcats took a penalty corner and worked the ball around to senior midfielder Casey Pohlmeyer who then fired at goal. Flaherty deflected Pohlmeyer’s shot into the goal to tie the game at one.
After New Hampshire tied the game, Harvard would only manage three more shots until its barrage in the final fifteen minutes. Though statistics never tell the whole story, sophomore back Elizabeth Jacobson did notice a drop-off in play after New Hampshire took the lead.
“I definitely think we lost some energy throughout the game,” Jacobson said. “We picked it up in the last few minutes by getting more aggressive on defense which helped create some opportunities on offense for us. We just need to do better with those opportunities.”
Flaherty and junior forward Caitlin Rea led the team with shots-on-goal with two each, while goalie Jenn Hatfield finished the day with five saves. The Crimson has experienced an up-and-down season so far, and this game was very much the same way.
“UNH is a very tough team,” Jacobson said. “I think we held our own. They ultimately won, but I think we showed ourselves that we can compete with a really good team”
--Staff writer Ty Aderhold can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.