After a strong performance against Penn last weekend, the No. 13 Harvard women’s field hockey team split its weekend slate, first shutting out Brown 7-0 on Friday before falling 2-1 in a shootout against No. 8 Boston College two days later.
No. 8 BOSTON COLLEGE, 2, No. 13 HARVARD, 1
Harvard’s seven game win streak came to an end in its second game of the weekend against Boston College. The offense felt the loss of junior forward Kathleen Young, who tore her ACL in the previous game against Brown. Although the Crimson maintained a possession advantage against the Eagles, outshooting Boston College, 19-14, including 9-6 in shots on goal, Eagles sophomore goalie Sarah Dwyer was strong in net, making eight saves.
For the Crimson, junior goalie Libby Manela led a powerful Harvard defense in net, recording five saves of her own and breaking up pivotal chances by the Eagles throughout the game.
During regulation, both goals were scored in the first half. For Boston College, junior midfielder Carly Kauffman snuck a shot past Manela in the 17th minute. Freshman back Hannah Pearce quickly answered for the Crimson, rifling in a shot of her own off a penalty corner in the 21st minute. On the play, senior midfielder Ellie Cookson and sophomore midfielder Casey Allen both recorded assists. Cookson now has 32 assists for her career, which further distances her from the previous school record of 26.
Following overtime, the game went into a shootout. In a close contest, Harvard eventually dropped the shootout, 2-1.
Despite the loss, the defense has been almost impenetrable, only giving up six goals in the last eight games.
“Our defense has been so strong, and we have an incredible defensive line,” said sophomore midfielder Bente van Vlijmen. “I think our two center backs have very good dynamics, and whenever there’s something not right on the field, they are there to fix the problem for the team. Having that strength in our back is so important, and when that is all set and our defense is all in good structure, we can build off that and start scoring goals.”
After a one-sided 5-1 loss to the Eagles last season, Harvard came out on Sunday looking for a better showing and it showed
“This game showed the steps we’ve taken. We made so much progress compared to last year,” van Vlijmen said, “and the fact that we made these steps shows that we’re going to do so well, hopefully at the Ivies and the NCAA’s, if we continue to make them.”
No. 13 HARVARD, 7, BROWN, 0
In the first game of the weekend, the Crimson outshot the Bears, 30-2, including 23 shots on net. Young began the torrential scoring for Harvard, notching two goals in the first 15 minutes of play. These goals gave Young 23 points on the season, a new career high. However, the win was clouded over by a knee injury to the junior, something that will kept the team’s top point scorer out for the remainder of the weekend.
“I think it’s been an emotional weekend but it’s inspiring for the rest of season to keep pushing,” senior goalie Olivia Startup said.
Highlighted by junior back Olivia Allin ripping a shot off a penalty as time expired, the Crimson went into the half leading 4-0. The team scored another three in the second frame to put the game out of the Bears’ reach. The offense was facilitated by effective passing. Sophomore forward Maddie Earle and midfielder Casey Allen, along with Cookson, all accumulated two assists on the day.
“After a huge game like Penn, we didn’t want to get ahead of ourselves and we did a really good job of taking it game-to-game,” van Vlijmen said. “We did such a good job of being efficient. We had a lot shots on goal, of which we scored a lot."
The margin of victory was the largest for Harvard against Brown since the rivalry began in 1974. The result extended team’s winning streak to seven games. However, during the game, Young tore her ACL, leaving the Crimson without a key piece of its offense going forward.
“I think this is the best we’ve played as a unit my entire four years at Harvard,” Startup said. “Everyone is one the same page; we’re working as a unit. Every lineup is strong, so we’re really happy with how we’re flowing as a team.”