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F. Hockey Rallies Over BC

By Jessica T. Lee, Crimson Staff Writer

With no time on the clock, the Boston College field hockey team faced its last chance to knot the score as it prepared for a penalty corner.

But, just as she had time and again, tri-captain goaltender Katie Zacarian stopped the shot from Kristen Madden, and the defense cleared the ball to end the game and preserve Harvard’s 2-1 victory on Jordan Field last night.

“Huge, huge, came up huge for us,” coach Sue Caples said of Zacarian. “She’s a great goalie. Her timing was brilliant. She was organizing the defense well, but they had some good point-blank shots and a couple breakaways, but that’s why she’s back there.”

The No. 15 Crimson (10-3) found itself chasing the No. 16 Eagles (10-5) through the first half of the game because of a gap in quickness and then on the scoreboard.

BC took a 1-0 lead with less than five minutes to go in the first half, when the Eagles earned a penalty corner. Zacarian stopped the first shot from Lauren Schultz but was unable to spot the second shot off the rebound from Kerri Doherty.

“They were really quick on that ball,” Zacarian said. “I made the initial save and then didn’t see where it went. They really took advantage of the moment.”

The moment was one of many in the first half, as the Eagles outshot the Crimson 10-1. But as much as the first period was dominated by the BC offense, the second was distinguished by Harvard’s comeback.

“BC had a tremendous first half,” Caples said. “They were beating us off the ball. We were a very different second-half team. We were able to change the momentum.

“We had to transfer the ball quicker, make it more dangerous. We were being very deliberate, methodical, going around and around. They have great speed and they were able to neutralize that.”

A visibly different team in the second half, the Crimson improved its speed and earned two back-to-back penalty corners in the opening minutes, although Harvard failed to convert on either.

But 10 minutes of grueling stickwork and sprints later, the Crimson’s second half turnaround would pay off.

The Eagles’ took a free hit coming out of their defensive end, making a short pass to another BC player just a few feet away. However, Harvard smothered the Eagles’ attempt to clear the ball, and tri-captain Kate McDavitt picked it up from the top left of the circle.

McDavitt sent a hard shot into goal and the ball deflected into the top right corner of the cage to tie the score at one, at 45:19.

It took less than five minutes for the Crimson to tally the winning goal.

Senior forward Mina Pell sent junior midfielder Kate Gannon a pass from the right side of the circle, and Gannon shot the ball into the right corner of the cage.

The game-winner came just after a scare at the other end of the field. Zacarian made a diving save to block the right side of the goal, where two BC players waited as the ball crossed in front of goal.

Zacarian finished the day with eight saves, including one with eight minutes to go, when she alone stood between two BC players and the goal. Sabrina Lazzari entered the circle with the ball, making it legal for the goaltender to play the ball with her body, and Zacarian pounced to end the threat.

“I think from the opening moment, I knew that was how I had to play,” Zacarian said of her aggressive style. “In the second half, they gave me more of an opportunity to be really proactive. There was one play when it was an open ball...when she entered the circle, I just wanted to tackle her because her head was down.”

Both teams had six corners, but only the Eagles were able to convert on one penalty. Harvard sent three of its initial shots very high at goal, resulting in gasps from concerned spectators.

“Corner execution needs to be better under pressure,” Caples said. “I don’t think we have ever done that. It’s not like we haven’t been under pressure before, but we lofted three shots.”

Even after Harvard scored the eventual game-winner, the Crimson continued to pound away. McDavitt almost got by on a three-on-one breakaway, and tri-captain Jen Ahn—displaying a black eye left from a stick injury at Yale—had a drive to the right of goal.

“She just gets better every day,” Caples said of McDavitt, who has missed time due to injury. “She went a whole game—and it was a hard game to go the whole game—just end-to-end. Her one-on-one ability caused a lot of problems for them, I think.”

“Our seniors are really stepping up. Their experience is showing and you can’t ask for anything more at this point in the season.”

Though Harvard was clearly on the offensive, BC’s speed still threatened the Crimson’s lead. Caples used junior midfielder Shelley Maasdorp’s baffling stickwork to help stall out the remaining minutes.

“I didn’t want to go into [the stall] too early because we had good momentum, but at six or seven minutes, we looked a little fatigued,” Caples said. “We did a pretty good job with the stall, except giving up a corner with no time.”

Harvard was on the stall in the right corner of its defensive zone when the Eagles won a corner as time expired, making the penalty the final play of the game. However, as she had the entire game, Zacarian stifled BC’s last chance, and the Crimson closed out the win.

Harvard hopes momentum from the second half continues in its game against No. 7 Princeton this Saturday. The Crimson and the Tigers are the last two undefeated teams in the Ivy.

“That was a great win for us because in the first half, BC was the better team,” Caples said. “In the second half, we were.”

—Staff writer Jessica T. Lee can be reached at lee45@fas.harvard.edu.

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