Duke Bedevils Field Hockey

WALTHAM, Mass.--A 3-0 loss to Duke was not at all what the Harvard field hockey team expected.

In its first-ever game against an Atlantic Coast Conference school, Harvard was not looking for a national championship contender--Duke finished 8-11-1 last year. The Crimson wanted a close, hard-fought game from an equal opponent, not to be schooled.

Well, Harvard (1-2 overall, 0-0 Ivy) did end up getting a lesson on Saturday. The team didn't learn how much higher it can go. It learned that it can never take its base for granted. Duke  3 Harvard  0

The Crimson started off the game, which took place at Bentley College by Duke's request, pretty evenly with the Blue Devils. But a couple Harvard mistakes pushed the tide Duke's way, and what could have been a tight game slowly became a cakewalk.

"We came out strong in the first five minutes," co-captain and goal-tender Jessica Milhollin (13 saves) said. "But after the first corner (15 minutes into the game), we were back on our heels. Duke and Harvard are evenly matched, but they wanted it more."

Even so, Harvard generated some attacks in the first half. Co-captain Carrie Shumway, junior Courtenay Benedict and freshman Judy Collins created some pretty good runs, but all came up empty.


The Blue Devils didn't have the same troubles. With 7:16 elapsed in the half, Duke's aptly-named Mandy Schott corralled a rebound off Milhollin's shin pad and rolled it into the box, giving her team its first big emotional lift.

But it was Duke's second goal, a perfectly executed corner shot by Melissa Panasci, that really broke Harvard. It came with only 2:18 to play until halftime and turned a not-so-bad 1-0 deficit into a 2-0 trench.

"We definitely had some chances in the first half--it's just a matter of finishing them," Harvard coach Sue Caples said. "Unfortunately, they put that one in at the end. We did not regroup."

The sour taste of that second goal never left the players' mouths. Duke tacked on a third goal midway through the second half, but it was just icing on the cake.

One only has to look at the shot totals to see what happened. Duke had 17; Harvard had three. All of the Crimson's were in the first half.

The loss gives Harvard's season so far a yo-yo feel: After a disappointing 2-1 loss to Rhode Island to begin the season, Harvard beat up on Vermont by a 3-1 count and followed it with the Duke loss. Not exactly the consistent play the Crimson is looking for.

"[Caples] said that we have to come ready to play for 70 minutes," Milhollin said.

Harvard will certainly have to change its ways soon. On Wednesday night the team travels to face UConn, a perennial Top 20 team, followed by home games against Providence and Boston University. The Crimson lost to all three last year.

It is conceivable that Harvard will be 1-5 after those games. At the very least, that will give the season consistency.

DUKE, 3-0at Walthouse, Mass.Duke  2  1  --  3Harvard  0