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Harvard faced a 4-0 loss against some of its stiffest competition of the past few years this past Sunday against No. 4 Connecticut (5-0). This is the first ranked team the Crimson (2-2) has played this season and their highest ranked competitor until they play No. 13 Boston University in a few weeks. Harvard last played the Huskies in 2009, falling 6-0. Despite the one-sided scoreboard, Harvard came away from the game with a performance that proved it could compete with the ranked teams on their program.
“I think the biggest takeaway for the season that we have from the game today is that we should not have to pay respect to any team out there,” said coach Tjerk van her Waarden. “We should not be intimidated because we can compete with every team on our schedule for the rest of the season.”
The Crimson entered the second half of the game down 0-2 but gave a better offensive performance with three attempts at goal from freshman forward Maddie Earle, junior midfielder Hannah Wellington and freshman forward Bente van Vlijmen. The Connecticut home team proceeded to score twice within three minutes despite sophomore goalkeeper Libby Manela making a string of saves.
“Even though the score didn’t show it, I think that walking away from today really showed us that we can compete with a top scoring team in the nation,” captain Sarah Finnemore said. “It’s a great takeaway from the game.”
The second period of the game also saw Harvard gain two penalty corners compared to the Huskies’ one.
“For such a top team, really had a great showing,” Finnemore said. “Since freshman year our team has really grown and improved a lot, I think everyone at different points stepped up and pulled their role on the team, I think it just worked really well.”
Earlier in the game, sophomore Amanda Collins of the Huskies led Connecticut shut out against Harvard by scoring nine minutes into the period. She proceeded to record her second multi-goal game of the season by slotting another goal into the back of Harvard’s net three minutes later.
“I think overall we held ourselves well,” van her Waarden said. “We made a couple small mistakes and knew ahead of time that it would be the details that made all the difference and where we could prove ourselves well. Small details is where we’ll work hard on – we need to be more effective in the circle and on both ends of the field we give [the opponent] too much space defensively. That space is what a top team is going to capitalize upon.”
The Crimson looks on to play Northeastern and Massachusetts on Friday and Sunday respectively. Both teams bring different challenges for Harvard – the Crimson and Northeastern have traded victories over the past few years. On the other hand, the Massachusetts Minutewomen lost by only 1-0 against the Huskies last week.
“They’re two local teams which makes the games very exciting,” van her Waarden said. “Northeastern is a very well coached team and they have a playing style that works well with us and I think it will be an exciting time on Berylson Field on Friday evening. UMass is the next stage of opponents that we want to measure ourselves with so I’m very excited to get after it again and show what we can do as Harvard Field Hockey.”
—Staff writer Amanda Fang can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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