Sports

Field hockey improves record but remains winless in Ivy League

By
Sports Editor
Monday, October 5, 2009

After 100 minutes, the field hockey team remained deadlocked with Vermont, 2-2, on Sunday afternoon, sending the game to penalty strokes. After the Bears had taken a 3-1 lead in the best-of-five stroke-off, the Catamounts sent out Mackenzie Williams, who needed to beat Caroline Washburn ’12 to keep the game alive.

Washburn was feeling “a lot of nerves,” she said, “but you try and just collect yourself and think that the only way this is going to happen is if I stop it.”

Williams fired, and Washburn dove to her right and smothered the ball to seal the 3-2 victory.

It was “nerve-wracking,” said Tacy Zysk ’11, “but as soon as we knew that it was going to strokes, we just knew we were going to put it away.”

The dramatic victory on Warner Roof eased the sting of a 4-3 overtime loss to Harvard on Saturday. The Bears improved their record to 4-6, though they stand 0-3 in the Ivy League.
“I’m really proud of this team, because they bounced back,” said Head Coach Tara Harrington ’94. “We came ready to play, we followed the game plan and we finished.”

The team had lost two one-goal games in a row leading into the Vermont matchup, to Harvard and Fairfield.

Against Vermont, Brown took the lead just 4:08 into the game, off a corner. After inserting the ball, Leslie Springmeyer ’12 slipped to the left post, where she knocked a pass from Katie Hyland ’11 into the far side of the cage.

But Allison Barnaby scored twice in the span of a minute to give the Catamounts a 2-1 lead with 9:28 left in the first half.

“They were both goals that we should have never let up,” Harrington said. “We know that as a defensive unit.”

But the Bears were inspired to keep fighting.

Brown tied the game with 18:20 left in regulation, as Springmeyer beat Vermont goalie Kristen Heavens on a corner play similar to her earlier goal, with the assist going to Whitney Knowlton ’10.

“As always, it’s so difficult to go down in the game, but I think it gave us fire and made us work so much harder to tie it up and get that win,” Zysk said.

With the game 2-2 after 70 minutes, the teams headed into overtime.

The atmosphere heading into the extra frames was loose and confident, Harrington said.

“We joked about being tough, and we joked about eating tacks, nails and barbed wire fence for breakfast, lunch and dinner,” she said.

Heavens stopped two shots in overtime for the Catamounts, while Washburn blocked three, sending the game into penalty strokes.

The Bears were ready, even though they had not reached a stroke-off since beating Maine, 2-1, on Sept. 7, 2008.

“We have very good penalty stroke-shooters,” Harrington said. “I’m very confident in our stroking team and very confident in Caroline, our goalkeeper. She’s saved a few strokes this year and made some really nice saves.”

Washburn saved Joanna Berger’s shot to open the stroke-off, before Bridget McNamara ’12 beat Heavens to her right to give Brown the 1-0 lead. After Lauren Goracy scored for Vermont, Hyland gave Brown a 2-1 lead.

Jenna Horowski next sent a shot wide for the Catamounts, setting up Cassie Puhalla ’11 for what would turn out to be the game-winning goal. Puhalla had also fired the shot that beat Maine a year ago and went for the same spot again, finding the upper left corner to give Brown a 3-1 lead with two strokes left.

When Washburn stopped Williams’ shot, the Bears began to celebrate, believing they had clinched the win, but the officials sent out Zysk, to her confusion.

“Honestly, I thought the refs counted wrong and that I didn’t actually need to take it, but I said, you know what, I’ll just shut everybody up and put it away,” she said.

Zysk beat Heavens on the ground to the left side, finally allowing the Bears to celebrate the 3-2 win. The stroke-off went in the books as a 4-1 victory for the Bears.

The Bears will now have six days off before they travel to Maine to face the Black Bears on Sunday.

Zysk said the team will be confident after a crucial win.

“Now we’ve beaten a team in a real battle,” she said. “We know we can fight, and when it comes down to grit and toughness, we know that we’re going to be the winners.”

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