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It was one of those games that is extra-hard to lose. After playing near their peak for over an hour, the Crimson stickwomen finally broke down and allowed a goal by Springfield's Lisa DiStefano with 5:50 remaining that sent them to the showers disappointed, 1-0 losers.
Springfield, a perennial power, came into the game a heavy favorite, but they left with newfound admiration for a gutsy Crimson squad.
"They played well--very well," Springfield coach Dottie Potter Zenaty said. "We have to be considered near the top of the teams in this area, and Harvard sure put up a fight."
Instead of fighting it out at midfield, the two teams alternated furious offensive onslaughts that usually lasted for several minutes. The Crimson defense proved strong, and aggressive goalie Betty Ippolito ranged far out of the net to kick away loose balls. But the same old problem hampered the offense--it was unable to convert offensive pressure into goals.
"We have to work on corners and a few offensive plays," co-captain Elaine Kellogg said. "But they are one of the top teams and we held our own. We had just as many scoring opportunities as they had."
The Crimson, slightly outplayed during the scoreless first half, took control in the second, but were unable to create open shots.
The Maroons exhibited superior passing throughout, but were also unable to capitalize on their opportunities until DiStefano hit the back of the net off teammate Anne Peabody's penalty corner. Five minutes and many pleading cheers from the Crimson bench later, the game was over and Harvard's record had dropped to 1-2.
The stickwomen will be on the road next week--to Southern Connecticut Saturday and Northeastern Wednesday--before they return home October to open the Ivy season against Penn. Meanwhile, Springfield will face the nation's number one team, West Chester, this weekend.
It may not prove anything, but if Springfield gives West Chester a game, one has to feel that Edie MacAusland's women have shown that they can play with, if not outscore, the best.
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