Following Saturday’s heartbreaking defeat to No. 14 Princeton, No. 16 Harvard returned to action to face off against No. 21 Boston University on Tuesday afternoon. In a thrilling contest, the Crimson (11-4, 4-1 Ivy League) defeated the Terriers (10-7, 5-0 Patriot League), 2-1, at Berylson Field.
Playing so soon after its most emotional game of the season, Harvard knew that it would need to regain some of the momentum it had lost over the weekend. The team would have to show its resiliency if it wanted to compete with yet another ranked opponent.
“After that loss against Princeton, we lost an emotional part of our team,” sophomore midfielder Bente van Vlijmen said. “We wanted to stop thinking about what we could have done. BU is a ranked opponent, so we knew we would have to focus to give them our best effort.”
After being shut out on Saturday, Harvard began Tuesday’s game with a flurry of efforts on net. The Crimson fired off four shots in the opening five minutes of the contest. By the sixth minute, those attempts paid off. With six minutes on the clock, freshman forward Mimi Tarrant sent a pass to sophomore midfielder Casey Allen, whose shot beat the BU goalkeeper for the score. The goal was Allen’s first of her career for the Crimson. The Berwyn, Pa. native is more generally known for creating chances than converting them, as is evidenced by her six assists on the season.
However, the Terriers were not deterred by Harvard’s early goal. Just three minutes later, BU would respond with a goal of its own, as Terriers freshman forward Petra Hall scored off of a redirection by junior forward Kara Enoch in front of the Crimson net. The goal marked a shift in the momentum of the game, as Harvard was pushed back onto the defensive. BU ended the half with four unanswered shots, but none of them found the back of the net, and the two teams ended the half tied at 1-1.
“They’re a very fast, very opportunistic team,” van Vlijmen said. “But we maintained our structure and our forwards were strong in finishing with the ball.”
Harvard began the second half with a more methodical approach, choosing quality over quantity in terms of its shots. This strategy paid off in the 45th minute, as co-captain Hannah Wellington weaved through several defenders into the circle before beating the BU goalkeeper for the score. The goal was Wellington’s seventh of the season and the 17th of her career.
Wellington’s tally served as a catalyst for the Crimson offense, as the team would go on to outshoot the Terriers, 4-1, over the next 15 minutes of game time. While Harvard did not manage to add to its lead, it did force BU junior goalkeeper Kathleen Keegan into making a number of impressive saves. Having taken over from freshman goalie Millie Baker at the start of the second half, Keegan finished the night with two saves. Baker tallied two stops of her own in the first period.
With time winding down, the Terriers decided to pull their goalkeeper in the 64th minute, in hopes of pulling a goal back. In the 67th minute, Wellington found herself with the ball and a chance to add to her goal tally, but saw her shot on net sail wide.
In the closing moments of the game, BU found one last chance to pull even. In the 69th minute, BU forward Petra Hall fired a shot on net, but junior goalkeeper Libby Manela made the save to seal the victory for the Crimson. The save was Manela’s fifth of the day, and the victory saw the junior improve her record on the season to 4-4. The Houston, Texas native has wracked up 66 total saves over the course of her collegiate career.
Following today’s action, Harvard returns to Ivy League play this weekend as it hosts Dartmouth on Saturday. The Crimson will hope to translate Tuesday’s win into momentum as it takes on the Big Green in the final home game of Harvard’s season. The Crimson also remains hopeful of its chance to compete in the NCAA playoffs. Currently, Princeton sits in the poll position atop the Ivy League, while Harvard remains close behind in second place.
“We are hopefully still in the race for NCAA’s,” van Vlijmen said. “We had to win this game in order to get into the top 16 teams in the country. Playing so well as a unit restored our faith in ourselves, and we hope that we get the chance to prove that we are a great team, that we should have beaten Princeton.”
—Staff writer Sean B. Chanicka can be reached at email@example.com.