A pair of stout performances produced two disappointing results for the women’s field hockey team, as the Bears (3-5, 0-1 Ivy) lost an overtime battle against the University of California, Berkeley before falling 2-0 to conference foe Columbia.
“These two teams were definitely two of the best opponents that we’ve played so far,” said co-captain Anna Masini ’16. “They were also two of our best games, but unfortunately we were not able to come out on top. We just needed a few more things to go our way.”
Coming from the other side of the country, the Golden Bears (6-4) arrived in Providence on the heels of two top-20 upsets: a 3-2 overtime win against then-No. 14 Penn State and a 2-1 win over then-No. 6 Stanford in the extra frame. But it was Bruno that came out of the gates faster, as Ellie Seid ’19 got her second goal of the year on a breakaway after 24 minutes. The goal marked just the second time this season that the Bears have scored first — the team also jumped out to an early lead in their 3-2 win over Bryant two weeks ago.
“It was really big for us to score first,” Masini said. “Our attacking above the twenty-five and in the circle is what we struggle with. It puts us in a position to take more risks because we have a buffer. We’re just going to try to do more of that.”
Seid was an engine for the Bears all day, generating many offensive opportunities with her speed and separation ability.
“Ellie has given us a spark on the forward line,” Masini said. “She has great game sense and knows what cuts to make. She’s always able to open up forward space.”
It was the first time all year that Brown had taken a lead into the start of the second half, but that was short-lived. A little under 10 minutes into the second frame, Marie Lanckneus beat Katie Hammaker ’19 to her right side off a well-executed corner play. Though corner defense has been a recurring problem for Bruno, Cal ended the game with nine corners to the Bears’ four, making the equalizer likely.
But Bruno was able to hold on at the end of regulation and force Cal into overtime — a matchup that would normally have favored a Brown team that has enjoyed incredible success in the extra period. But overtime has also been friendly to the Golden Bears this year, as their two upset wins came in overtime. After Brown was able to get a corner and make life difficult for its opponents, the Golden Bears collected themselves before Janaye Sakkas finished the game in favor of Cal. It was the first time Brown had lost a game after leading at half since Sept. 28, 2013 — almost two full seasons ago.
The Bears looked to rebound in their first division game of the season against Columbia (5-2, 1-0 Ivy), which definitively beat the Bears 4-0 in the teams’ Ivy-opener last year. Brown kept a potent Columbia attack scoreless in the first half but was unable to generate anything offensively. The Lions outshot the Bears eight to three while out-cornering Bruno three to zero.
Columbia made the breakthrough 10 minutes into the second half after converting a well-executed corner play. The backbreaker occurred less than a minute later after Anna Scipioni scored her third goal of the season on a long shot that managed to sneak by Hammaker. The Bears were able to create some offensive attacks but — other than a saved penalty stroke — nothing that seriously threatened the Lions’ lead. Hammaker ended with seven saves — Masini and Katarina Angus ’17.5 each had defensive saves — but the Bears were shut out in the 2-0 loss.
“Right now it’s hard to be 0-1, but it’s not detrimental,” Masini said. “We’ve already put Columbia in the past and are focusing on Dartmouth. The Ivy is open based on some of the results this weekend, so we have an opportunity.”
Brown will take on the aforementioned Big Green next weekend. It will be a crucial division game for a team that has not won more than one game in the Ivy League since 2010.
“Yes, we’re not undefeated,” Masini said. “But that doesn’t mean we won’t end up on top.”