Since the option to end a game in a tie was taken out of collegiate field hockey and Columbia joined the Ivy League — 1995 and 1997, respectively — no team has ever won the Ivy League title with fewer than six victories.
For the women’s field hockey team — after a disappointing late loss to Harvard on Saturday — it will take an undefeated conference stretch and outside help to do something unprecedented.
After a win at home against Dartmouth two weekends ago, the Bears (5-6, 1-2 Ivy) looked to get their second conference win at Cambridge against a Crimson (7-3, 2-1) team that Bruno beat last season. The Bears have not won two Ivy League games in a season since 2010.
Brown got on the board late in the first half when it registered its fourth corner and executed it to perfection. Alexis Miller ’16 got her fifth goal of the season off of a pass from Emily Arciero ’16 — the senior’s team-leading fifth assist. It was the only goal of the half for either team, marking the fourth time all season that Brown has gone into halftime with a lead.
A second-half offensive onslaught got off to a quick start when Harvard was able to create its first points of the afternoon. Marissa Balleza capitalized on a juicy rebound in front of the net to even the score at one.
Brown responded eight minutes later, when Arciero capped her three-point day with her first goal of the season, benefiting from a deflection off of a Harvard defender. Arciero’s goal was only the third of her career — she scored a single goal in each of the past two seasons — and it put the Bears in the lead for the second time in the game.
Arciero “has been playing really well,” said Anna Masini ’16. “She has great tenacity in front of the cage. We score most of our goals from corners and breakaways, but hers was a great follow after a shot. You could tell she wanted a goal. She’s aggressive in front, and it was great to see her get some points.”
But the final 11 minutes spelled doom for Bruno, as star Crimson forward Elizabeth Jacobson scored two unassisted goals in a four-minute span before Ellie Cookson tallied her second of the season just three minutes later. Harvard’s three goals in seven minutes constituted the worst stretch for the Bears defensively all season, eclipsing the three-goal spurt in 14 minutes by Providence.
“Columbia and Harvard were two very different games,” Masini said. “In Columbia, for a two-minute stretch, things didn’t go our way. Against Harvard, we aren’t used to being ahead, and there might just have been some complacency.”
In three Ivy games this year, the Bears have given up six goals in the second half and have only managed to tally one for themselves. In all other games, Brown has scored nine goals after the first half, giving up 12.
The loss marked the Bears’ second conference loss of the season, making the climb for conference-title contention all but impossible.
“I don’t think our goals change,” said Alexis Miller ’16. “This year is still wide open.”
“The cool thing about our league is that the title’s always up for grabs,” she said. “We can still be one of the top two or three teams in the league.”
Bruno will take on Holy Cross Wednesday before a Saturday tilt with Ivy League heavyweight Princeton.
“We just need to stick to our game plan,” Miller said. “We need to do what we’ve done that has made our team great. Princeton’s a very traditional team, but I definitely think we have a chance to beat them.”