UCSB Falls to Harvard in 9-8 Heartbreaker

Samantha Murphy (Photo by Tony Mastres)
Samantha Murphy (Photo by Tony Mastres)

SANTA BARBARA, Calif. – Samantha Murphy's four goals were not enough for No. 13 UCSB (11-9), as No. 19 Harvard (18-4) scored in the game's final seconds to take the 9-8 thriller at Campus Pool. 

Aside from Murphy's game-high scoring total, Bryn Hudson and Sarah Kreiser each added two goals, while Hudson also picked up two assists.

Defensively, Taylor Shore paced the team with three steals and Mackenzie Brokaw finished with seven saves along with two swipes.

Having already beaten Santa Clara earlier in the day 7-5, the Crimson came out strong in outscoring the gauchos 3-1 by the 5:32 mark in the first quarter. Their first goal came 37 seconds into the match, but was immediately responded with Murphy's first score of the day just 25 seconds later.

Facing a two-goal deficit, Hudson came through with a clutch goal just before time expired in the first period, making the score 3-2. Brokaw did her part in preserving the score, as she ended a quarter with a save, blocking a strong skip shot from Harvard.

The second quarter featured a defensive struggle, but the Gauchos would notch the equalizer before the halftime break. Shore made a key field block in the deep wing and found Hudson on an outlet pass, as she headed toward the cage. On the play, Hudson dished the ball to Murphy who slotted the ball past Crimson goalkeeper Cleo Harrington in the two-on-one scenario.

After the relatively quite second period, the teams made up for lost time and put on a show in the third quarter, scoring a combined six goals in a seesaw battle. Hudson set the tone early with a goal just 17 seconds into the half. However, it was immediately followed by a Harvard goal to re-tie the game at 4-4.

Later in the quarter, Murphy hauled in a deep pass from Brokaw and attacked with a determined drive to the cage, as she bulleted the ball in for the score. Kreiser chipped in the Gauchos' final goal of the quarter with a shot from the right wing that dealt just by the near post.
 
With the score knotted at 6-6, Harvard got to work quickly in the fourth with a 2-0 run over the span of 48 seconds.

Kreiser later came through with a goal at the 5:25 mark, which would set the stage for Murphy's clutch game-tying goal with 32 seconds left.

But just as it looked like the game was heading to overtime, Harvard drew an ordinary foul in the waning seconds of regulation and came up with the game-winner before the final buzzer.

UCSB will be back in action tomorrow to host Santa Clara at 12 p.m. Tickets will be available in front of Campus Pool and can also be purchased online.