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A win is a win is a win.
It wasn't the prettiest game, but the Harvard field hockey team (10-5, 3-2 Ivy) gritted out a 3-1 victory over Providence (6-12, 1-4 Big East) yesterday at Jordan Field.
"We played okay," tri-captain Anya Cowan said. " I don't think we played exceptionally well. But we got the job done."
The win came in the wake of a heart-breaking 3-2 overtime loss to Princeton on Saturday that left Harvard reeling.
Yesterday, the Crimson found its scoring touch early when junior attacker Kate Nagle found the back of the cage with 23:38 left in the first period. The goal came on an assist from junior midfielder Liz Sarles.
"Liz had a good look," Nagle said. "She was attacking a free hit into the circle. I redirected her pass one time and it went in."
Nagle now has eight goals on the season, a team high.
The Crimson got another goal from freshman back Katie Scott on a penalty stroke with 4:40 left in the half. It was Scott's first career goal.
Going into the break up two goals, Harvard could have rested on its laurels.
But Harvard Coach Sue Caples had warned the team beforehand to be wary of the Friars.
"They are a very scrappy, physical team," Cowan said.
The Crimson heeded her warning and came out of the break and scored with 32:19 left in the half on a Katie Schoolwerth penalty stroke.
Down 3-0, the Friars, with the help of a little luck, managed a goal with 26:29 left in the game.
"Their goal came off of a corner," said Cowan, the goalkeeper. "I didn't touch the ball at all. They scored a goal they never should have had."
The Harvard defense shut Providence after that mistake.
"Towards the second half, I think our defense did a good job of stepping up and stopping them," Nagle said.
It also helped that the Friars couldn't get their offense moving.
"They didn't generate a lot of attack," Cowan said.
Case in point, Harvard outshot Providence 17-3 and had a 9-5 advantage on penalty corners.
Cowan and her replacement, junior Jen Crusius, each had just one save. Both Providence goalkeepers--Andrea Weyl and Heather Tattersall--had four saves apiece.
Despite the win, Harvard still has wrinkles to iron out, including more work on passing patterns.
"Individually, we didn't trap as well and pass as well as we know we can do," Cowan said. "We just managed to hang in there and come out with a 'W', which is really important."
The Crimson, trying to keep its faint postseason hopes alive, will need a favorable NCAA selection committee to make it into the tournament.
This win should help, but Harvard will need strong showings against Dartmouth at home and Brown on the road over the next two Saturdays.
"I think we are just going to focus on individually playing the best we can," Cowan said. "We need to go out to play hard on Saturday. I don't think we are as worried about Dartmouth and focusing on them as we are [about] focusing on ourselves and getting ready for the game."
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