When you're the best field hockey team in the nation, you're not expected to lose to unranked Ivy league teams.
And you don't. UMass, the number one ranked team in the country, beat the Harvard women's field hockey team, 4-0, yesterday afternoon at Amherst.
The Minutemen, who received top-ranking last week after defeating Old Dominion, raised their record to 11-0-1 while the Crimson's fell to 2-5-1. It was the third straight loss for the stickwomen and their second shutout of the season.
Fielding eight U.S. National team players, the Minutemen dominated the Crimson throughout the game. "They were in a class of their own," said senior Ann MacMillan. "They knew what they wanted to do with the ball as soon as they got it. We haven't played against teams like that before."
Forwards Judy Strong and Sue Caples led the way for Umass with two tallies apiece. Taking advantage of Harvard's slow start, Strong notched her first goal only two minutes into the game. As a crowd formed around the Crimson net, Strong took the ball and walloped it by goalie Juliet Lamont.
"Defense got a real workout today," said coach Edie MacAusland. Lamont did a tremendous job in the net, preventing UMass from racking up more tallies than they did. She had 18 saves, repeatedly coming out of the goal to cover players on- on-one.
The Crimson did generate some offense after the first Minuteman tally. Forwards Jennifer White and Andrea Mainelli passed very effectively inside the circle, setting up Tania Huber in front of the net. But Huber's shot went wide.
After the brief Crimson flurry in front of the UMass goal, the Minutemen came right back with their second tally. Using her speed and superb stick control to get by the Harvard defense, Caples beat Lamont with a bullet in the upper right hand corner.
The Minutemen continued to apply pressure but Lamont and back Lucy MacMillan, who came off the bench to cover Strong, managed to contain them. MacMillan gave Strong a particularly tough time on the corner shots.
The third UMass conversion came with eight minutes gone in the second half. Strong, who has "the best stroke in the country," according to goalie coach Marcia Karwaf, was awarded a penalty stroke and that was that. Umass was up 3-0.
With only nine seconds left to play, the Minutemen came back for one more goal. Caples took a pass from the corner and flung it by Lamont to put the final score at 4-0.
"We played respectably, and it was a good warm-up for the Princeton game," summed up MacAusland. The stickwomen will face the Tigers this Saturday at 11 a.m. at Soldier's Field.
THE NOTEBOOK: Captain Maureen Finn played yesterday for the first time since the Cornell contest when she was hit in the face by a stick. The stickwomen are gearing up for their "Impale Yale" hat sale. The squad is hoping to raise enough money to send them on a tour of Ireland next fall.
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