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Nasca 6, Collins 2; Northeastern Victimizes Field Hockey

By Eric F. Brown, Special to The Crimson

BROOKLINE--After two consecutive close losses to ranked opponents, the Harvard field hockey team sought to finally pull off the upset yesterday against the number-five team in the nation, Northeastern. It did not happen.

Instead, the Crimson (4-10, 0-4 Ivy) was run over by a speeding Nasca on Northeastern's Parson's field. That's Husky Denise Nasca, whose six goals outpaced Harvard freshman Judy Collins' two in Northeastern's 6-2 blowout victory.

Four of the first five tallies came directly corner shots, on which the battery of Nasca, Jill Haiko and Jen White proved to be unstoppable. The Huskies only had five corners on the day, which leads to a pretty good efficiency.

"The defense in the circle was lacking again today," Harvard coach Sue Caples lamented. "And number 20 [Nasca] was on fire."

The contest began auspiciously for Harvard. In the first 15 minutes of play, each team traded off attack sequences evenly, and the game looked to be a close match much like the Crimson's 2-1 upset victory over the Huskies last year.

But that was a different season and a different field, and Northeastern was at home on its astroturf. The Huskies only needed an opening to run away with the game.

That they got with 18:50 to go in the first half. On a corner, Nasca--of course--belted a shot past Harvard goaltender Jessica Milhollin on an assist from Haiko, and that started the avalanche.

"The first 15 minutes we had good opportunities and played strong," Caples said. "[But then] we had a bad call go against us that resulted in a corner, and we didn't play the corner right."

Nasca's second came a mere 6:27 later, again off a corner, again off a Haiko feed. Collins sliced the lead in half with a tally less than a minute later, but Nasca came back with a goal from the field.

To put the exclamation on the first half, you-know-who knocked home a corner with less than five minutes left, upping the ante to 4-1 and sealing the Crimson's fate.

That's the story of yesterday's game. Whatever Harvard did, Nasceastern could do better.

As a result, the second half was rather uneventful. Not because nothing happened--there were three goals, which is a lot for field hockey--but because the outcome of the game was mostly decided. With the silence only broken by Caples' exhortations on her team to get something positive, both teams took on a passive feel.

"At the end of the first half," Collins said, "It's not really that we gave up, but were kind of expecting to lose."

That expectation grew when Nasca knocked home her fifth, off a corner yet again, pushing the advantage to 5-1 and psychologically pounding the Crimson with a practically unheard-of goal total.

"The game was over when it was 5-1," Caples said. "When it was 4-1 we could have come back."

Collins scored her second goal 15 minutes later, but Nasca--who broke the Northeastern career records for goals and points in the game--came right back with a goal, and a terrible one at that.

Nasca had the ball in the circle and sidestepped to the right. When she neared the endline, she simply took the bad-angle shot and scored. Not exactly the type that one wins awards for.

But the Huskies simply did what they had to do. When the situation called for great play, Northeastern could produce that. When great play wasn't needed, the Huskies just carried on.

"There's nothing fancy about [Northeastern's] play," Caples said. "They execute very well...we just need to take advantage of opportunities."

The loss was the Crimson's third in a row, but all have been to ranked teams.

Harvard next faces Maine on Sunday at Parsons Field again in what is technically a home game, its last of the year. Maine is currently tied with Northeastern for first place in the North Atlantic Conference, and Northeastern and Maine face off on Saturday.

Because of various tiebreakers, the Huskies, however, secured the league title with their win yesterday. Harvard  2 Northeastern  6

NORTHEASTERN, 6-2 at Northeastern Harvard  1  1  --  2 Northeastern  4  2  --  6

First Half

M.U.--Denise Nasca (Jill Haiko), 18:50.

N.U.--Nasca (Haiko), 12:23.

Har--Judy Collins, 11:40

N.U.--Nasca 10:30.

N.U.--Nasca (Haiko, Jen White), 4:28.

Second Half

N.U.--Nasca (Haiko, White), 25:12.

Har--Collins 7:23.

N.U.--Nasca 6:36

Saves:--Jossica Milholin 9, N.U.--Jen Ruggoro 4

NORTHEASTERN, 6-2 at Northeastern Harvard  1  1  --  2 Northeastern  4  2  --  6

First Half

M.U.--Denise Nasca (Jill Haiko), 18:50.

N.U.--Nasca (Haiko), 12:23.

Har--Judy Collins, 11:40

N.U.--Nasca 10:30.

N.U.--Nasca (Haiko, Jen White), 4:28.

Second Half

N.U.--Nasca (Haiko, White), 25:12.

Har--Collins 7:23.

N.U.--Nasca 6:36

Saves:--Jossica Milholin 9, N.U.--Jen Ruggoro 4

First Half

M.U.--Denise Nasca (Jill Haiko), 18:50.

N.U.--Nasca (Haiko), 12:23.

Har--Judy Collins, 11:40

N.U.--Nasca 10:30.

N.U.--Nasca (Haiko, Jen White), 4:28.

Second Half

N.U.--Nasca (Haiko, White), 25:12.

Har--Collins 7:23.

N.U.--Nasca 6:36

Saves:--Jossica Milholin 9, N.U.--Jen Ruggoro 4

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