Harvard Falls Prey to Eagles

Alexandra C. Dowd

Freshman Georgia McGillivray scored the lone goal for the Harvard field hockey team in last night’s 3-1 loss to Boston College. The defeat is the second straight for the Crimson after a four-game winning streak.

The Harvard field hockey team finished off a four game home stand last night with a match against No. 14 Boston College. On a cold and wet evening at Jordan Field, the Eagles offense proved too formidable for the Crimson (6-7, 2-2 Ivy) as BC (12-4, 1-3 ACC) scored three unanswered goals en route to a victory.

The Eagles scored twice in the first half on a pair of goals by BC forward Bob Dirks and added another tally after the break, creating the 3-1 final.
“It was one of our better games. We really came together as a team,” co-captain Kayla Romanelli said. “BC is a great team. They’re always ranked in the top 20. I thought we showed them a game.”

About 13 minutes into the action, a penalty corner gave Harvard an early lead. Junior midfielder Kristin Bannon took the corner and sent a pass to Romanelli at the top of the circle. The senior shoveled a pass off to freshman Georgia McGillivraym, who wound up and fired a rocket past BC goaltender Julia Berkowitz.

“We had a burst of energy in the first half when we drew ourselves a corner,” McGillivray said. “Our corner execution is getting better and better.”  
It took less than 90 seconds for the Eagles to answer and tie the score. BC gained possession at midfield and sent a long through ball ahead to Dirks. The senior received the pass with no one but Crimson goaltender Kylie Stone to beat. When Stone came out of the net to challenge her, Dirks simply drifted right and buried a shot into the near corner of the goal.

Almost two minutes later, it Harvard appeared poised to retake the lead. Sophomore forward Leigh McCoy got the ball at midfield and sprinted down the right sideline towards the goal. Before she reached the baseline, McCoy sent a cross in front of the net intended for sophomore forward Maggie McVeigh. The pass was delivered perfectly and McVeigh put a good stroke on the ball, but Berkowitz made a sprawling save and managed to stop the ball with her stick just before it crossed the goal line.

Minutes before halftime, BC took the lead on another unassisted effort by Dirks. This time, the senior received the ball at the top of the circle, sprinted toward the left post, and backhanded a shot into the far corner for her 18th goal of the season.

At the half, the Eagles led, 2-1 and held a slim advantage in shots, 8-6, also trailing the Crimson in penalty corners by a 2-0 margin.

Less than two minutes into the second frame, BC managed to cushion its lead. Eagles forward Kate Gillis had the ball outside of the circle and sent a through ball to teammate Kathleen Murphy. Uncontested, Murphy sprinted to her left and backhanded a shot between Stone’s legs for an insurance goal.
Harvard’s offense picked up late in the second half when it began pressing BC’s defense. With roughly 14 minutes remaining, McCoy sprinted past her defender and had an open look on net, but she lost control of the ball and could only manage a weak shot that trickled wide of the goal.
“I thought we had some good passing combinations and generated some good attack,” Crimson coach Sue Caples said. “It was very cerebral. They should be very proud of their performance.”

Harvard managed three more shots—one on net—but failed to bring the score any closer. The Eagles finished the game with a slight edge in shots, 13-10, and tied in penalty corners, 2-2.

“This was great preparation for Saturday,” Caples said. “Princeton will be a very similar opponent to Boston College. Our speed of thought and speed of execution needs to get to this level.”
—Staff writer Timothy J. Walsh can be reached at