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The Harvard field hockey team squandered its five-game winning streak, but maintained its 11-game losing streak against the University of Connecticut yesterday with a bitter 2-1 loss to the Huskies in double overtime.
The Crimson tried. It endured, but enduring wasn't good enough.
"We had a sub-par performance today," said Harvard Coach Sue Caples, whose squad may now lose its number-14 national ranking. "We were our own worst enemies out there. I don't know if we were tight, or if we were just forcing too much, but we didn't play a relaxed, loose game."
The game started out promisingly enough for the Crimson. After a brief domination stint by UConn, Harvard woke up and stole back the ball, quickly getting a corner.
It took two more corners to get it right, but Becky Gaffney finally charged the ball off the Husky goalie's pads and launched it past her for Harvard's first and only goal five minutes into the game.
Bullying the Huskies
Loren Ambinder and Gaffney repeatedly broke up Husky passes and bullied the ball towards the goal, but Harvard couldn't push it in. Things just didn't seem to click.
"Our basics just fell through today," said senior Co-Captain Anne Van Dykum. "We weren't cutting to the ball. They beat us to the ball, so we weren't able to work the ball up the field. We got stopped everywhere."
Late in the first half, UConn's blasting hits planted the Huskies in the Crimson's end. Harvard's defense struggled under rapid fire, corner after corner, until UConn made Harvard's worst nightmares come true, tying up the game with a mere 2:39 left before intermission.
In the next period, Harvard came out with a bang and engineered a corner within the first five minutes.
The Crimson set up corners, corners and more corners.
But no goals.
Gaffney sent a rocket just to the left of the cage. Kristen Fowler fired a bullet, but just missed.
Francie Walton kept digging the ball out of Harvard's end and sending it up to the offense, but after eight straight corners, the score was still tied.
"You've got to be an opportunist in this game," Caples said. "We sent too many balls across the net, had too many shots, too many balls in the goalkeeper's feet not to finish it off. It's not that the chances weren't there--they were."
In the last five minutes, UConn controlled the ball, with five corners in a row, but couldn't change the scoreboard.
Breathing a sigh of relief, the Crimson went into the first 10-minute overtime.
The teams battled up and down the field, butcame out empty-handed after the first OT.
In the second sudden-death OT, the ball slippedinto the Crimson end right away, and after twocorners, UConn pounded the ball in, ending thegame with 4:31 left.
"We channeled them pretty well," said Harvardgoalie Lisa Yadao. "They just hit big balls andwere very aggressive. On the last goal this girlcame through--no one knew where she came from, butshe just got in."
"Sometimes the better team doesn't always win.All it takes is one little touch," Caples said."How many opportunities did we have duringovertime? A zillion. They came down, got a corner,got the second shot off, and popped it in."
Still, UConn is a contending team year afteryear, and the Crimson expected a tough, closegame. Last year's 2-1 loss didn't leave Harvardwith any delusions, but it did leave it with hope.
"We expected them to be very good," Van Dykumsaid. "But I think we were all disappointed by howwe played. We really thought we had a chance tobeat them. Even during the game we had a lot ofchances. It just takes one shot to go in
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