The good news is that the Crimson field hockey team went on the road to Southern Connecticut Saturday and came home with a 1-0 victory. The bad news is that the stickwomen left the impressive ball-control offense they had sported in their previous outings back home in Soldiers Field, perhaps intended as some sort of good-luck charm for the Crimson gridders.
Outplayed, outhustled and outshot, the stickwomen were able to escape with a win only with the help of an erratic, bumpy field and some standout play by goalie Betty Ippolito.
The game's lone tally occurred early in the second half when Sue Field's penalty corner was slapped in by co-captain Chris Sailer. But, aside from that threat, the Crimson offense did not put its usual pressure on the opposing defense.
"We didn't play very well," said co-captain Elaine Kellogg, who added that the condition of the playing field may have contributed to their problems. "It was bumpy and rough, and also smaller than regulation size so that gave us some problems."
The size of the field hampered the mobility of the Crimson offense, and ensured a low-scoring, defensive battle. Southern Connecticut did, however, find a way to pepper the Harvard net with 11 shots--and only several fine saves by Ippolito allowed the Crimson to depart unscathed.
The play of her squad did not please coach Edie MacAusland, and she will have plenty to say about it on the practice field this week. The stickwomen will be at home to open Ivy action with Penn on Saturday at 11 a.m., but first they must put their 2-2 record on line at Northeastern Wednesday against a highly regarded Husky squad. If the team is to emerge next Sunday with a winning record, they will have to solve a few of the inconsistencies that have been plaguing an otherwise successful year.
The stickwomen, although consistently pressuring opposing defenses, have had trouble putting the ball in the net all season.
They won their season opener 2-0 over Bowdoin a week ago, and lost a hard-fought second game 1-0 to Springfield Tuesday.
The goalmouth hesitation could be the difference between a winning season and a lonely year, observers say, noting that the fundamentals for success are all in place.
But, before they do any of that, co-captains Sailer and Kellogg might think of taking an early-morning trip down to Soldiers Field just to see if their offense is still there.
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