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Saturday Affirmation

Brown Knows

By Eric F. Brown

Hoosiers didn't end this way.

When you get all the fans to come out in the rain when you ruin a bedsheet to make a sign, when you come out so fiery that the hair on your neck stands up, you're not supposed to lose.

Harvard was 0-3 in the Ivies going into Saturday's battle; Princeton was 4-0. Harvard was the underdog team, surviving a four-game stretch without scoring a goal but always believing that it had talent. Princeton was Princeton, the defending Ivy League champs, the team that has the gall to win the league title despite letting one of its best players, Amy MacFarlane, take the year off to play in the field hockey world cup.

It is impossible to fully describe how much the Crimson wanted this game, because it is impossible for an outsider to fully appreciate it. But the Crimson's determination was certainly strong.

Harvard went into the season hoping--no, expecting--to win the Ivy League title, a goal that's obviously not going to happen now. Then Mighty Princeton rolls into town, bringing with it the prospect of redemption. Well, we didn't win the league, but at least we beat those 0-96#96!@ Tigers.

That was the new target. That's why at least 150 people came out, five times the attendance of any other game. That's why the words "Kill Princeton!" were on a sign thanking Harvard's three seniors for four years of service, as this was their last game at Cumnock Field.

That's why Harvard came out of the gate playing its best hockey of the year.

A mere 32 seconds into the game, the Crimson had a corner, and junior Daphne Clark's shot bounced around dangerously near the goal before Princeton cleared it.

And less then three minutes later, speedy freshman Judy Collins broke through the defense end blasted a shot past. Tiger cageminder Lix Hill.

Suddenly, Harvard was on top of the world. All the whistles blew the Crimson's way, as the players in white grabbed every loose ball and checked every Tiger advance, sometimes amashing against the ground.

But then something happened, something that those cheesy Disney movies fail to incorporate. The Tigers held strong. Princeton is a good team, and it would not go down easily.

Slowly, the momentum went back the Tigers way, and this swing culminated in a game-tying goal midway through the first half.

At the same time, Harvard did not give up either. Early in the second half, with the score still knotted at one, the Crimson had some of its best chances, Junior Courtenay Benedict had a point-blank shot that Hill kicked away. On another occasions, the ball would lie in front of the cage for what seemed like minutes, with neither team's players able to hit it.

Princeton, conversely, was able to convert on one of those chances. With less than 15 minutes left in the game, the ball got caught in a mass of people and somehow squirted into the goal.

Again, Harvard would not die. After falling behind for the only time in the game, the Crimson had four corners, the same amount it had for the entire first half. Each presented a chance for the home team to tie, for the underdog to come through.

It never happened.

Even with the defeat, however, the game was still a positive. Yes, they had played their best game of the season and still lost, but they came awful close.

That's all that Harvard was looking for on Saturday--affirmation of its abilities. That's exactly what it found.

Joez. It sounds like some bad movie.

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