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With the ball nearly out of bounds on the right side of the field, Crimson field hockey co-captain Carly Dickson took control and hit a centering pass to teammate junior Katelin Wahl. Wahl took a shot, scoring the tying goal for Harvard.
This proved to be the turning point early in the second period, as the Crimson (4-3, 1-1 Ivy) went on to defeat the Bryant Bulldogs (4-5, 0-0 NEC), 2-1, at Jordan Field on Sunday afternoon.
The first half of the game was an even, scoreless matchup. Strong defense from both teams kept the score at 0-0. With a little over five minutes remaining in the first half, junior goalie Cynthia Tassopoulos made a diving save to prevent a Bryant goal, one of five that day. Tassopoulos currently has a .784 save percentage.
“We try to make sure that our defense from the forward to the mids to the backs is a priority for every game, and I think today it really showed,” Tassopoulos said. “Our defense was very composed and [it] let us field the ball out of the back.”
Two minutes later, Bulldogs sophomore MaKayla Hancock also made a key defensive save to hold off the Crimson.
Coming out of the first period, both teams were ready to try to put some points on the board.
Bryant capitalized on a short corner opportunity seven minutes into the second half with a goal by Bulldogs senior Courtney Landi.
Harvard responded quickly.
“Right after [Bryant] scored, we knew we had to get back in fast, so I was trying to get that attack,” Dickson said of her game-tying assist. “Kate did a great job of shooting in the goal.”
The Crimson closed off the win with a goal by freshman Paige Haley. It was the team’s second win of the weekend home stand, defeating Penn 4-1 on Saturday.
“Yesterday was one of our best games of the season against Penn,” Haley said. “We really passed strong and had great pass combinations. Today was a more simple and more scrappy game. I thought we did well, but there are things to improve on. We are definitely glad to be back on our winning streak.”
Both Harvard’s players and Crimson coach Sue Caples emphasized the need for consistent improvement regardless of the positive results.
“Bryant played a really strong game and battled tough; they definitely outplayed us in some areas,” Caples said. “We got the results, but how we get the results is important to us. The last couple of games, we gave up too many shots. We did not give up too many goals, but we gave up too many quality opportunities [for the other team to score].”
The home team was also presented with the challenge of playing two back-to-back games in one weekend, taking a physical toll on the team.
“Last weekend, we had one really good game and one not so good game,” Tassopoulos said. “We wanted to really string two games together this weekend, and I think that’s what we did.”
While physically difficult, the two-game weekend proved beneficial for the players’ mental focus.
“We just picked up where we left off yesterday [against Penn],” Haley said. “It is a field hockey weekend, so your thoughts are really there.”
With a winning record, Harvard is looking forward to a strong rest of the season.
“We are really excited about Ivy League play,” Tassopoulos said. “It is going to be a lot of fun because all of the teams are pretty even this year, so it is very open. It is exciting to see the new player combinations we have on the field with all of our freshmen.”
Bryant has two more games before its first conference matchup on Oct. 7 against Monmouth. The Crimson will be taking on Brown and Vermont next weekend at home.
“Our goal is to get one percent better every day,” Caples said. “If we do that, we’ll be in a good position next Saturday against Brown.”
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