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Somewhere up in the clouds, there is a group of women wandering around in a state of euphoria. It's hard to believe that such elation could be brought about simply by stepping over a bunch of Bulldogs.
But that was all it took for the Harvard women's field hockey team to find elation yesterday as they abused their Eli opponents in beautiful downtown New Haven, and floated back to Cambridge with a 2-0 victory.
For the women, it was their first Ivy League win after four consecutive ties. But this was not just any Ivy win; it was a shutout of Yale. As team captain Lucy Wood said last night, "It was just incredible."
In the true spirit of Harvard-Yale confrontations, the contest overflowed with tension and excitement. A scoreless first half, a tough, physical battle, and the triumph of Crimson attacker Ann Velie made yesterday's game a real spectacle.
Velie, who was brought up from the J.V. just two weeks ago, put the icing on the cake yesterday, producing an incredible solo effort. With just one minute left in the game and Harvard on top, 1-0, Velie took the ball at midfield and put on her show.
While dribbling the ball downfield, hunched over her stick, Velie outran everyone on the field, faked out the Eli goalie, and drove the ball into the net, producing a 2-0 lead an astonished group of onlookers.
"She faked out the goalie so well," said Wood. "You just wanted to see a slowmotion replay of everyone's faces after that...they were amazed."
Velie's goal was the dramatic, satisfying one; but Gwill York provided the important initial score, breaking a scoreless tie at three minutes into the second hafl.
After a Sarah Mleczko shot that rebounded back into the circle, defensive back Stefi Baum picked up the ball and drove it back toward the nets as York came around the goal to poke the ball through for the score.
Up until that time, the game had been a battle of the goalies, with Ellen Seidler and Yale Goalie Lorraine Prattle matching skills in their respective ends.
Seidler had the initial brilliant play of the game, making a magnificent effort in her first save of the afternoon. After deflecting a shot by Yale's offensive power, Emily Montgomery, Seidler lost sight of the ball, which was resting between her and the goal, obscured by her pads.
However, just before a Yale player could get to the ball, Seidler caught it with her stick and knocked it out of bounds.
From then on, Seidler was perfect.
The physical Eli defense frustrated Crimson attackers continuously as they stopped one Harvard drive after another by stealing the ball and smashing it well back down the field. But the difference was that Harvard converted two of their 12 shots on goal; Yale went 0 for nine.
The win sets the team up psychologically for a Yale rematch in the opening round of next weekend's EAIAW tournament.
"We know we can score and we can play against a team like Yale, which is important, especially since they can be so frustrating," said Wood.
But even more than proving themselves against Yale, the team (now 5-1-4 on the year) proved after a dismal streak of four ties, that they could get psyched and get together to play winning field hockey.
"When they're psyched, there's no limit to what this team can potentially do," said coach Field. "They're just a tough little team."
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