The sloppy conditions made life more difficult all over the field. The ball skidded on the turf and players on both teams had trouble keeping the ball in the net of their sticks.
“The one thing about the weather is that it treats everybody the same way,” head coach Lisa Miller said.
On the soppy-day though, it was Harvard who handeled the conditions better.
“We strung some goals together and they strung some goals together and we were fortunate enough to get the lead,” Miller said. “Then we just kept chipping away.”
Junior Kaitlin Martin led the Crimson to victory with seven goals on the day. She is tops on the Harvard roster with 20 goals in the young season.
The Huskies came out strong and quickly went up 2-0 in the first few minutes of play. But the Crimson answered with goals from Martin and senior Caroline Simmons.
For the first fifteen minutes of the opening stanza Harvard and UConn kept pace with each other, but it was the Huskies who had the slight 5-3 advantage at the end of the quarter.
In the second 15 minutes of the half the Crimson rolled ahead thanks to five unanswered goal. Captain Natalie Curtis and Simmons each tallied a score during the run—both off of free position shots. Martin added three of her own, one of which was an empty net goal.
The empty-netter was the result of intense pressure from sophomore Sarah Flood. UConn goalie Jenna Moulton ran out of the crease and Flood forced Moulton to lose the ball. Flood recovered the ground-ball and found an open Martin who easily finsihed the play.
“We worked really hard this week in practice,” Flood said. “ We focused on the little things such as being smart and hustling.
The surge put Harvard ahead 8-5 at the break.
The Huskies came out firing in the second-half and UConn junior Whitney Michelle found the back of the net in the first minute.
But the Crimson kept its composure and scored seven of the next eight goals. Three of those came from senior Tara Schoen who became a huge presence in the second half.
In the final eight minutes the Huskies made one last attempt to get back in the game. Three goals brought UConn within five, but that was as close as they could get.
Half of Harvard’s goals on the day were off of assists. Four of them from Flood, who connected with Martin twice.
“We started getting the ball through the middle of the field,” Miller said. “We did a good job of swinging it back and then moving it to the other side.”
The defense did its part to get the win too. The Huskies came into the contest with two major shooting threats—Michele who has ten goals on the season and junior Katy Ryan who leads the team with 13 goals.
But the Crimson shut both of them down. Ryan had no goals on the day and Michele was limited to two.
The Harvard defense put pressure on the UConn attackers and closed up space on their end of the field.
“I think our defense was great and our goalies showed up big,” said Flood.
The win is especially sweet for the Crimson who has lost to the Huskies the last five times the two teams have met.
This is the best start to a season Harvard has had since 1994. Much of the credit goes to first-year coach, Miller. Coming from Syracuse, Miller has revamped the program who has now won as many games in 2008 as it did last season.
For the turn-around to be complete though, the Crimson will have to keep winning in Ivy play. Harvard will get its first chance this weekend when it hosts Brown at Jordan Field.
“Well its an Ivy-league game,” Miller said. “So you can throw out all the scouting reports and bet it’s going to be a blood-bath,”
-Staff Writer Alison Schumer can be ++reached at email@example.com