According to everyone involved, last night's battle between the No. 20 Harvard field hockey team and No. 9 Massachusetts was as well played and hard fought as a collegiate field hockey game could be.
The two teams proved themselves to be more than worthy of their respective nationally rankings, as each executed cleanly enough to extend a 0-0 stalemate deep into the night.
Then, after 89 minutes of deadlock--four minutes into overtime number two--UMass (7-2) finally found a way to beat Crimson freshman keeper Katie Zacarian. Harvard (5-2, 2-0 Ivy) was sent home with its ultimate goal unfulfilled.
"We played our hearts out," Harvard Coach Sue Caples said. "That was end-to-end, a complete hockey game. I don't think either team can be disappointed or sorry. Both teams executed today."
Zacarian, in her first game since earning Ivy Rookie of the Week honors, did everything for her team but hold down the win. She stopped 19 UMass shots before the night was done, and she forced the Minutewomen to make the perfect shot in order to beat her.
It wasn't until four minutes into the second overtime that UMass was able to find that shot. Minutewomen forward Kristen Schmidt had come close just moments before, skirting around the Harvard defense and unleashing a low shot that Zacarian kicked out of bounds.
But then UMass midfielder Patty Robinson made the perfect attack on the subsequent play. Taking the ball from the left corner and digging from some hidden reservoir of strength, she darted along the end line towards the net at full speed. After evading the Harvard defense, she unleashed a hard shot past Zacarian from point-blank range.
"It was a great goal," Zacarian said. "She started in, it was a great shot, very hard, she just came along suddenly. What can you do? It was still a great game overall."
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