SPRINGFIELD, Mass.--Anyone who thinks the home field advantage doesn't mean much just isn't paying attention.
The Springfield College field hockey team flashed a fine-tuned, astroturf-suited attack at Harvard yesterday, and breezed past the less-than-sharp Crimson, 3-0, on artificially surfaced Menemec Field.
"They know their turf, that's for sure," forward Kate Martin said after the game. "We usually play well on turf, but I guess they do too."
The stickwomen have no grass-stains to remember this one by, just fleeting memories of Springfield forwards speeding down the sidelines. Actually, the whole thing is just as well forgotten.
"It's tough when you play a team that plays at home on turf," forward Sue Field said after the game. "When they make those crisp passes, they have so much room to manuever."
The crisp passes, plus a swift forward line, combined to cause trouble for the Harvard defense. The Maroons clicked first eight minutes into the game, when sophomore Kathy Bell slammed a penalty corner past Crimson netminder Betty Ippolito.
Fifteen minutes and two penalty corners later, Bell rocketed another drive toward the cage, but this ball struck an intermediary: the leg of star link Ann Velie. Velie collapsed on the carpet in a heap, and was helped off the field minutes later with a pancake-sized bruise just above her knee.
Deprived of its glue, the Crimson midfield fell apart. "We really missed her support behind the forward line," Maureen Finn, who moved back from attack to link to replace Velie, said. "Ann Velie's shoes are hard to fill."
"Annie is such a persistent tackler," Field said. "So often she'll make the tackle and move the ball up on offense. We really missed that."
Harvard had been forcing its share of the attack, but without Velie the offense sputtered. The Maroons picked up more than their share of loose balls, and converted one into a goal by Sye Monahan as the first half closed. "They just beat us to the ball," Martin said.
A lackluster second half featured spurts of imaginative play by the Crimson, but little success against Springfield's heavy-weight defense. Lisa Maccarone's roller rounded out the scoring at 8:04, and only solid play by Jennifer White, who had missed three games with a leg injury, gave the visitors any joy.
THE NOTEBOOK: It was parents day for the stickwomen. Field's mother made the long drive up from Princeton to see her daughter in action, and Sara LeBlond's mother and brother watched Blondie play one of her best games of the season. Of course, Mr. and Mrs. Martin of the Woburn Martins saw daughter Kate, as always...A preliminary injury report on Velie says she will probably be out "two or three days," meaning she'll miss Dart-mouth Saturday.
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