The Harvard and Boston University field hockey teams will battle each other in the first round of the NCAA field hockey tournament tonight at 7 in B.U.'s Nickerson Stadium.
When the crosstown rivals butted heads on October 5, Harvard emerged as the 2-1 winner. In that match-up, the Terriers may have underestimated the Crimson, but one can be sure it will not make the same mistake tonight.
"This game is no indication of what this team can do," B.U. Coach Sally Starr said.
Apparently, Starr was correct.
Lately, the Terriers have been unbeatable, winning its last seven games. When it faced Harvard in October, B.U. owned a disappointing 4-6 mark, but now it boasts an imposing 13-6-2 record.
Harvard (13-2-2) has also compiled some impressive statistics of late, winning its last five games in a row. Still, the team feels it has not been able to put it all together game in and game out.
"We've had an outstanding season," said Harvard Coach Sue Caples. "There have been little setbacks, but we keep getting better."
Recently, Harvard has racked up impressive victories over Connecticut, UNH and Princeton. The Crimson appears to have found its elusive rhythm.
"This [ECAC Championship and NCAA bid] really shows the progression of our team," Senior Becky Gaffney said. "We've made incredible improvements and its been fun to be a part of it all."
Both teams are confident after winning conference titles this past weekend. The Terriers tore through Northeastern in the North Alantic Conference Championship Game, tossing the Huskies aside 3-0. Harvard's victories did not come as easily, but B.U. will be hard pressed to meet the Crimson's emotional intensity.
The rosters of Harvard and Boston University are laden with all-star talent.
B.U. forwards Leslie Ambinder and Lisa Barone, both first-team all-conference performers, have been giving opponents fits all season. Back Chris LaPointe, who buoyed the Terrier defense was also selected to the first-team.
The Harvard players also earned their share of recognition. Three seniors, forward Loren Ambinder, and middies Ceci Clark and Kristen Fowler, all received first-team Ivy League honors. Junior forward Rachel Burke, senior middie Gaffney, back Francie Walton, a sophomore, and seniors Tina Lawler, a defensewoman, and Lisa Yadao, the goalie, were named to the second team.
Clark, who anchored the Crimson midfield and dished out an Ivy-high 12 assists, was elected Ivy League Player of the Year.
"The award is exciting," Clark said. "but right now we're looking beyond that and thinking of the game."
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