BROOKLINE--The beat goes on for the Harvard field hockey team.
Yesterday, the Crimson suffered its 11th defeat of the season, this time by a 1-0 count to the Black Bears of Maine at Northeastern's Parson's Field. Like many of Harvard's other 10 losses, the squad was not totally outplayed across the field; it was just outscored.
Not to say that the Crimson (4-11, 0-4 Ivy) played particularly well--Harvard had only eight shots and six corners on the day. But at the same time, Maine's attacks weren't all that great either, except for a five-minute binge late in the first half.
"It was sloppy," Harvard coach Sue Caples said. "Maine's not a better team; they just put the ball in the net."
It was that spurt that produced the Black Bears' lone goal. With nine minutes to go in the first half, Maine drove the ball into the Harvard circle and drew a corner. Crimson goaltender Jessica Milhollin stopped the shot, but she illegally deflected it, causing another corner. And after that there was another corner. And another.
In all, Maine had seven corners--more than half of its game total--in that five-minute span, all due to a Harvard mistake. It only ended when Black Bear Jeni Turner smacked a corner shot to the right of Milhollin with 3:59 to go in the opening period.
The only surprise was that it took Maine so long to put one in. When a team has that many corners in that short a time period, the defense is really on its heels.
"Psychologically, it's so frustrating." Milhollin said. "Every corner should be a goal, especially on [artificial] turf."
On this day, however, Maine only needed one goal. Harvard's offense did not have any five-minute spurts of glory and could not capitalize on any of the few chances that it had.
The Crimson did not seriously threaten to score until 18 minutes of the first half had elapsed, at which point Harvard drew a corner. But the shot from the stick of the Crimson's leading corner threat, junior Daphne Clark, skipped wide left, a sign of things to come.
All six of Harvard's corner were designed to go to the co-captain Carrie Shumway-to-Clark battery, but the duo only put one on net--Clark hit four shots wide, and Shumway couldn't successfully place another.
However, some of Clark's shots were awful close to becoming goals, particularly one with 20 minutes left in the game. Freshman Penny Fairbairn drove down the right side of the field--as she and fellow freshman Judy Collins often did--and drew a corner in the circle. Clark took the shot, but it veered away from the unguarded left side of the cage. If that shot had gone a little bit more to the right, the game would have been tied. Harvard also knows that with a 4-11 record, it's pointless to worry about bad breaks.
"We have to play for 70 minutes," Milhollin said, echoing the Crimson's main complaint for the whole season. "You can say it's bad luck only so many times."
Harvard is now down to its final two games of the season, at Brown on Wednesday and at Dartmouth on Saturday. These matches present the Crimson's only chance to stay out of the Ivy League cellar, as the Bears also have an 0-4 Ivy mark.
Both are games that Harvard can win. Or lose.
"We need to play to win," Caples said. "We have to work harder and do the little things--we have to get down and get the job done." First Half Maine--Turner (Porter, Elkanich), 3:51. Saves: Maine--Botett 6; Har--MilHollin 11.
Maine--Turner (Porter, Elkanich), 3:51.
Saves: Maine--Botett 6; Har--MilHollin 11.