By: Greg Levinsky
BOSTON – Despite a career-best effort by senior goalkeeper Kathleen Keegan, the Boston University field hockey team fell 2-0 to Harvard University on Sunday afternoon at New Balance Field.
The No. 23 Terriers (7-5, 3-0 Patriot League) battled to a scoreless tie with the No. 11 Crimson (11-1) at halftime, but Harvard rattled off tallies separated by less than three minutes to earn their eighth-straight win. Terriers Head Coach Sally Starr cited “two really bad defensive turnovers” as the game’s turning point.
“Losing the ball and getting their pocket picked in the defensive third, they’ve just got to stay strong with the ball,” Starr said. “[Harvard] made us pay for two very bad defensive turnovers.”
Keegan saved the first six shots she saw to match her career-high set earlier this season against then sixth-ranked Penn State. The West Hartford, Connecticut native ended the afternoon with a new career-best eight saves.
She’s started all 12 contests for the Terriers and owns a 7-5 record with a .565 save percentage.
“She’s just gotten better and better every year, and she’s saved the best for this year,” Starr said. “She was outstanding today. She kept us in the game.”
After a scoreless first half, an “obviously unhappy” Starr signaled for her lone timeout in the 42nd minute, less than five minutes into the second half. She said her team responded well to her instruction.
“We played with a little more urgency, a little more energy,” Starr said. “We started playing much better hockey at that point.”
The Crimson found the back of the cage twice midway through the second half. Harvard junior Maddie Earle stole the ball and tallied her ninth goal of the season in the 55th minute. Freshman Rachel Greenwood doubled the lead less than three minutes later with her second career goal.
Starr said her team played well, but the aforementioned miscues were enough to swing the contest in Harvard’s favor.
“With the exception of those two really bad breakdowns, I think we were in the game until the end,” Starr said. “Keegan really kept us in the game, especially in the first half.”
Greg Levinsky can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @GregLevinsky