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Harvard field hockey (7-4, 1-2 Ivy) added another win to its record on Sunday, beating Fairfield (5-10, 0-2 America East), 3-0, on the road.
Freshman Hannah Wellington started the Crimson off strong, with a goal at 9:00 off a penalty corner taken by freshman Ellie Cookson. The momentum continued with another goal 10 minutes later by senior Kaitlyn Boudah. After Fairfield goalie Caitlin Bennett blocked an initial shot, Boudah followed up, driving the puck into the back of the net.
“I think we’re a passing team and we did really well moving the ball quickly,” captain Caitlin Rea said. “Everyone was getting touches and everyone was around the circle. That’s why we had a lot of opportunity passing the ball to different players.”
Harvard coach Tjerk van Herwaarden elaborated on the importance of the team’s game plan, which focuses on quick and simple passes.
“We showed a lot of structure,” van Herwaarden said. “I think our technical plan and the execution of the game plan worked well in our favor. We’ve been doing quite well so far connecting and giving the easy pass.”
This game plan proved effective, as the Stags found themselves down three goals only 24 minutes into the first half. The final Crimson goal came from senior Noel Painter, unassisted, who increased Harvard’s lead by following up on her own shot.
Painter attributes much of her success to the effort and teamwork the Crimson displays on the field.
“I couldn’t have scored any of those goals or had any of those assists without my teammates being in the right positions and making the play possible,” said Painter, who leads the team with six goals and four assists this season.
Harvard’s defense dominated throughout the game, keeping Fairfield to one shot on goal early in the first half.
Painter hopes her team can continue to improve its level of intensity as the season wears on, maintaining a consistent effort throughout the entirety of the game.
“Every game you have a strong 15 minutes and you have a 5 minute slump and so on and so forth,” Painter said. “We want to limit those slumps in our game and play a full 70 minutes hard.”
Regardless of the loss of momentum in the second half, the Crimson managed to add another win to its record, moving one step closer to a winning season—one of the team’s biggest goals.
Harvard started off winning its first five games, the program’s best start in history. However, after losing four of the last five matches, a victory over Fairfield provides an opportunity for the Crimson to gain the momentum it needs to compete in the rest of its season.
“We’re just at the halfway point through our season where we’re now looking at a 7-4 record [instead of 6-5],” van Herwaarden said. “That’s a huge difference in terms of what we want to get out of the season and in terms of what we want to stand for.”
Harvard’s next game is against Cornell (8-3, 3-0 Ivy), an Ancient Eight frontrunner. Riding the momentum of this weekend’s win, the team plans to stick with what it knows.
“We’re very confident that if we play our game we can play with anyone in this league and in this country,” van Herwaarden said.
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