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Harvard Field Hockey Drops Brown, 4-0

By Juliet Spies-Gans, Contributing Writer

On a day commemorating the 20th anniversary of the 1991 Harvard women’s field hockey team’s Ivy League championship, the Crimson’s alums weren’t the only ones celebrating. Harvard (5-3, 2-1) took a dominant step forward as it crushed Brown (1-8, 0-3) 4-0.

The first major offensive attack came at the 28:48 mark of the first half. After the Bears’ penalty corner shot was blocked, the Crimson launched a counter-attack that took the ball downfield. Freshman Noel Painter sent a quick pass to junior Kim Goh, but the ball escaped its target, and the storm was temporarily weathered.

But with 15:20 left in the half, junior Katelin Wahl dribbled the ball into a tight pack and managed to send off a shot that put Harvard on the scoreboard, 1-0.

Play continued with a slew of penalty corner shots for the Bears that spanned the rest of the first half. While Brown did not take advantage, Crimson coach Sue Caples still emphasized her team’s need to improve in the second half, and improve it did. Despite the penalty corner disparity in the first half, Harvard ended up on top of that category, earning 11 shots to its opponent’s seven.

“I think we battled Brown really hard for 70 minutes,” Caples said. “It took us a half to start getting the results. We should have had more to show for in the first half, but Brown played tough and had a lot of opportunities. Most of them were corners. We need to do a better job of taking care of the ball in the circle, but I think in the second half we made some really good adjustments and controlled things. We were really pleased with the second half performance.”

The second half opened with a Crimson goal after only 18 seconds. It was a shot by Painter, assisted by classmate Catriona McDonald, and it set the pace for the rest of the game.

“I think the run down by Cat in the first 15, 20 seconds was pretty spectacular,” Caples said. “We have a lot of speed out there. Speed is a very dangerous weapon and hard to defend.”

Harvard’s speed allowed it to put increased pressure on the Bears and to tighten up its defense. The Crimson gave Brown fewer shots at the goal as the game went on. And whenever the Bears were able to penetrate Harvard defense, junior goalkeeper Cynthia Tassopoulos put a clear stop to the drive.

“She’s a rock,” Caples said of her goalkeeper. “Solid, great leadership back there. Big defensively.”

Tassopoulos had 12 saves on the day, leading the defense to its second shutout win of the season.

“Our mentality was to really try to keep them from getting shots,” Tassopoulos said. “They got some, but I think we did a good job of holding our circle and making sure we were mentally tough.”

When faced with a penalty corner and a penalty stroke in succession, Tassopoulos denied the shots and fended off yet another Brown attack.

“I was trying to stay very focused and just watch the ball all the way in ... at that point you just have to hope that we can stop it.”

Amidst the steady defense, the Crimson's offense was not to be outshone. Sophomore Kyleigh Keating knocked a close-range shot into the bottom left corner of the net to increase the Harvard's lead to 3-0 at 53 minutes.

To cap the scoring off, a breakaway led by sophomore Bridget McGillivray and finished off by junior Emma Keller gave Harvard its final goal of the night, completing the score of 4-0.

Caples was very satisfied with the overall effort, noting the consistency of her team at this young point of the season.

“We’re working to put a complete game together,” she said. “We’re really pleased. Great team effort.”

“I think it went really well,” Tassopoulos said. We were able to come out strong and keep the pressure high the entire game and come up with shots at different times.”

After two straight league wins, it appears as if things are starting to mesh for the Crimson. Caples sees the rest of the season in a very positive light.

“We’ll refuel, there’s really good energy. We’re really starting to click and the combinations are starting to feel really good,” Caples said. “One of our big things this year is that we want to be the team setting the tempo out there, and there was a really high tempo set [today] by our forwards.”

Harvard will look to continue its momentum and complete its pair of weekend games on Sunday against the University of Vermont (6-4).

“Vermont is going to be a really good team for us to play,” Tassopoulos said. “We just want to come out and play them as hard as we played today, if not harder.”

If the Crimson continues to play as it did today, perhaps the 1981 team won’t be the only team long remembered.

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