Field hockey beats Harvard in double-OT nail-biter

Contributing Writer
Thursday, October 7, 2010

In front of a raucous home crowd on the Olney-Margolies Athletic Center roof, the field hockey team (2-7, 1-2 Ivy League) edged Harvard (3-7, 1-2) 3-2 in the second period of overtime on Saturday.

Bears forward Abigail Taft ’12 provided the winning strike, pushing a cross from winger Kelley Harrison ’13 past Harvard goalie Cynthia Tassopoulos for her second goal of the afternoon and sealing the Bears’ first Ivy League victory of the season.

“Today was a great win for our program,” said Head Coach Tara Harrington ’94. “I commend the team and every single woman who wears that uniform.”

Taft put on another offensive clinic, as her overtime heroics made her the team’s leading scorer this year. She has scored four goals in Brown’s past three games.

“Gail just has a real nose for the ball,” said tri-captain forward Tacy Zysk ’11.  “She always knows where the defense is, and her stick skills allow her to pull around defenders and just make them look foolish.”

This was Brown’s first foray into overtime this season, and the team prevailed against a tired Harvard corps through tactical use of substitutions. In collegiate field hockey, only eight players, including the goalie, play in the overtime periods, three fewer than during regulation. This leads to a more open field, increasing the distance that athletes must cover and making fatigue a larger factor.

“We had lots of people in and out,” Harrington said. “It kept in fresh legs, which equals fresh minds.”

The strategy paid off, as the tight Brown defense turned away Harvard’s three overtime penalty corners in thrilling fashion. Goalie Lauren Kessler ’12 kept the game alive by blocking a one-on-one breakaway attempt from Harvard forward Chloe Keating in the first overtime.

“She’s an amazing goalkeeper,” said tri-captain Katie Hyland ’11. “She knows exactly what she is supposed to do in every single situation.”

Hyland, who also assisted on Taft’s first goal in regulation, was a key member of Bruno’s staunch defensive line after being moved to center back in the latest formation shift by Harrington.  

“She’s a veteran,” Zysk said of Hyland. “When it looks like it’s a dire situation, she’s very calm, she makes a smart play and she finishes strong.”

Zysk added a goal to Taft’s haul, scrapping for a rebound from the stick of fullback Bridget McNamara ’12 in the first half.

Catch the Bears in home action this weekend as they take on Davidson at 2 p.m. this Saturday and the University of Maine at 3 p.m. this Sunday.


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