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On Saturday the Harvard field hockey team found its balm not in Gilead, but in Columbia.
An earlier loss to Massachusetts did not usher Harvard into a freefall. Rather, Harvard (2-2, 1-0 Ivy) righted itself by toppling Columbia, 4-1, on Saturday. Co-captain Judy Collins paced the offense with two goals, and junior Dominique Kalil notched three assists. HARVARD4 COLUMBIA 1
"It was a huge win for us," said co-captain Tara LaSovage. "We needed a confidence-booster, something to show that we are doing things right. Winning our first Ivy game was huge."
Harvard approached the game with a revitalized attitude, having shaken off the malaise of its earlier loss.
"After UMass, we decided that we needed to push everyone a little harder in practice," LaSovage said. "There was a confidence in the air when the game began."
The Crimson also hearkened back to its blueprints for success, focusing on improving its strength.
"Coming off the loss to UMass, we knew we had to pass more because we usually play a passing game," said sophomore Liz Sarles. "We opened up the field, and we were also able to talk a lot more. Our communication broke down against UMass."
Collins started the Crimson off nicely when she scored at 6:27 of the first half.
"After that, we relaxed a little bit," LaSovage said. "It helps to have that one goal."
Junior Katie Schoolwerth's goal off a penalty corner at 7:20 sent Harvard into halftime with a 2-0 lead.
Neither goaltender faced much of an offensive barrage. Junior Anya Cowan made two saves during the first half, while her Columbia counterpart, Weoms Whitney, stopped just one shot. Each goalie finished the game with four saves.
"We pretty much dominated the game," Sarles said. "We were in the midfield or in their circle for most of the game. There were about 20 minutes when it was back-and-forth, but Anya was playing really well during that period."
The intensity rose briefly when Alen Donohue tallied at 16:56 of the second half to pull Columbia within one.
"It was kind of a fluke goal," Sarles said. "Things got messy in front of the net, and Anya couldn't really see. [Donohue] scooped it in."
But the Crimson deflated this defiant rally when Sarles converted another penalty corner, on assists from Kalil and LaSovage.
"I was real proud of the way the team reacted," LaSovage said. "We dug a little deeper and came right back at them."
Equally heartening was the team's conversion of two penalty corners.
"We had two well-done corners," said LaSovage, who assisted on both. "They had gone real well for us in practice, and they were great on Saturday. Now that we've converted a couple, hopefully we'll be on a roll."
The Crimson also clamped down on its corner defense.
"Columbia had a few corners that scared us, but Anya was on, as always," Sarles said.
With 1:38 to go, Collins sealed the win by scoring unassisted, exemplifying the coolheaded philosophy preached by Harvard Coach Sue Caples during a timeout with 10 minutes left.
"Sue stressed that we shouldn't let down; we should stay focused," Collins said. "She told us to finish it, that one more goal would ensure victory."
"We didn't want any lapses. We needed to generate more offense and get another goal," Collins said.
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