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NEW HAVEN, Conn.--Playing on grass for only the second time this season, the No. 19 Harvard field hockey team beat Yale 2-0 on goals from freshman forward Kalen Ingram and junior forward Kate Nagle Saturday afternoon.
Tri-captain Anya Cowan made 12 saves, including four during a flurry of consecutive penalty corners in the second half, to earn her first shutout of the season as the Crimson (5-1, 2-0 Ivy) remained unbeaten in league play.
And in the sibling rivalry department, Harvard sophomore Hilary Walton led a stifling Crimson backfield by blanking her twin sister Amanda, who leads the Ivy in scoring with 20 points on 10 goals.
"This was a good win for us," Harvard Coach Sue Caples said. "We played tough and a little bit scrappy, and we're in a great situation right now. We're getting better every single day."
The Crimson, which dropped a tight 2-1 decision at No. 1 UConn on Wednesday, responded with a well-rounded defensive effort and much-improved second-half play in the midfield to all-but eliminate Yale (3-3, 0-2) from contention for the Ivy title.
The Bulldogs had beaten Harvard twice during the 1998 season, including a 2-1 decision in the first round of the ECAC Tournament, which ended the Crimson's season.
"I'm a freshman, so I'm new to this whole Harvard-Yale rivalry," Ingram said. "But everyone was so pumped up before the game that I'm beginning to understand."
Ingram opened the scoring with 14:41 remaining in the first half when she scored unassisted off a slick piece of stickwork at the top of the circle.
Off a quick restart on the left sideline, tri-captain Dominique Kalil sent a long ball through the midfield for Ingram, who collected it and rolled left-to-right to the circle, where she shook her defender and opened up a shot to her right.
Yale keeper Courtney Lane drifted up from the back line to contest the look, but Ingram buried a hard shot into the bottom right corner of the cage, then flipped her stick into the air in celebration.
"I beat the defender on a reverse and pulled it to the top of the circle," Ingram said. "[Flipping my stick] was just my excitement. I don't normally get that excited when I score."
Ingram also figured in the Crimson's second goal, which came from Nagle off a penalty corner with 11:50 remaining in the second half.
After a long run by Kalil resulted in a corner, the Crimson called a misdirection play that Caples said she had introduced only at the previous day's practice.
Kalil faked a pass to the top of the circle, then sent the ball from the back line to Ingram on the right wing, who drove a hard shot on goal, where Lane deflected it with a pad save.
But Lane was unable to cover up the rebound, and Nagle, who had crept in on the doorstep, tucked it into the open left half of the net for a 2-0 lead.
"We like trying something different," Caples said. "We put that corner in yesterday, and we probably practice a handful with that option [passing to Ingram] and a handful of other options, and that was it. Teams scout you, and since we've never showed that play before, it adds an element of surprise."
Yale had made its best challenge at the lead during a sequence beginning with 20:00 remaining in the second half, when it tried four consecutive penalty corners, but could not convert on any of them.
Cowan made two pad saves, including a dive to her left to kick away a shot by the Bulldogs' Anne Rippetoe.
"Anya was brilliant today," Caples said. "It was messy, it was hectic, and everyone was in there in front of the goal. On those corners, we were caught standing around, I would even say spectating, and for us the challenge is to stay mentally focused and cut down the length of those kind of lapses."
Ingram and Nagle provided needed offensive punch after a consistent Yale double-team of Kalil--the third-best scorer in the Ivy with four goals and five assists--kept her production to a minimum.
"Dominique is a marked player now," Caples said. "Every team we play know how dangerous she is."
Hilary Walton put the exclamation point on the shutout when, with about 2:30 remaining in the game, she drew Amanda Walton in a one-on-one rush from the left sideline to the cage. Hilary Walton came in close on her sister and poked the ball away about 10 yards from the cage, drawing a roar of appreciation.
"Hilary Walton did a great job on No. 23 [Amanda Walton]--she's just a number, we don't use her name," Caples joked. "That's a tough match-up, but she handled it well."
Since her overtime game-winner against UNH Sept. 17, Nagle has been the Crimson's most prolific scorer, finding the back of the cage once in four straight games. She is tied for second on the team in goals with Kalil with four. Sophomore midfielder Eliza Dick leads the squad with five.
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