As rare as it is to have two siblings playing on the same team in college sports, it is even rarer to see them combine to produce a crucial play at the end of the game and propel their team to a victory.
This rarity was once again a reality for the Harvard field hockey team yesterday as freshman forward Jen McDavitt scored the game-winning goal in the 68th minute against Boston University off a deflection from her sister, junior midfielder Kate McDavitt.
The 1-0 nonconference victory over the No. 17 Terriers (11-8) marked Harvard’s second victory over a ranked opponent. The Crimson (10-5, 4-1) is still holding out hope for an NCAA at-large berth after losing to Princeton on Saturday.
McDavitt’s goal came off a deflected penalty corner when Kate controlled the ball at the top of the circle and hit a strong shot right at Terrier goalkeeper Susan Harrington. Before Harrington had a chance to make the save, Jen ran in and made a quick, high deflection into the back of the net.
“I usually stand right in front of the goalie,” McDavitt said. “I just tilted my stick and deflected it in.”
McDavitt’s score was much needed for a Crimson team coming off two consecutive losses to the No. 14 Tigers and No. 15 Boston College.
Ironically enough, the Terriers posted a 2-0 win over Princeton recently.
“We knew going into the game that they had a really strong defense,” Jen McDavitt said. “They beat Princeton earlier this season. We knew we had to be patient.”
Harvard’s patience paid off with the final goal, which came after almost an entire game of back-and-forth play.
The Crimson played well defensively, as it allowed BU just two shots on goal, both of them on corners in the second half.
Harvard junior goalkeeper Katie Zacarian had one save on a corner and posted her sixth shutout of the season.
Harvard had 17 shots on goal and held a 11-2 advantage on corners. Five of the shots on goal came from Kate McDavitt, who leads the team in shots taken with 59.
After a scoreless first half, Harvard coach Sue Caples made some minor adjustments that led to improved second half play.
“She told us we needed to transfer the ball through the middle better and switch sides of the field more,” Kate McDavitt said.
These changes proved effective, and combined with a heightened sene of urgency, resulted in an impressive win for Harvard.
“We knew we just couldn’t lost another game this season,” Kate McDavitt said.
The Crimson will look to act on these words as it travels to face Dartmouth this Saturday and returns home the following weekend to play Columbia in its season finale.