Freshman Marissa Balleza is the second Crimson to earn Ivy League Rookie of the Week honors in 2013. (Photo courtesy of Gil Talbot)
CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – Harvard field hockey forward Marissa Balleza has been honored as the Ivy League Rookie of the Week, the conference announced Tuesday afternoon.
Balleza joins fellow classmate Sarah Finnemore as the two Crimson to earn weekly conference honors this season. She began the week tallying two scores in the Crimson's 4-0 nonconference victory over UMass Lowell on Wednesday, one in each half. Balleza gave the Crimson a 2-0 lead with just four minutes left in the first stanza on a 15-foot shot from the middle of the circle. The first-year Crimson followed up that effort with a flip-shot over the goalie's shoulder 13 minutes into the second.
Against Fairfield on Sunday, the Severna Park, Md., native rocketed one in the cage to put Harvard up, 3-2, with just under five minutes to play in the game. After the Stags tied the contest late and forced overtime, Balleza nearly won it for the Crimson, but her rifle shot hit the side of the cage, bringing her within inches of a second consecutive mult-goal performance.
As a freshman, Balleza paces the Crimson with her four goals so far in 2013, tying her with Noel Painter for a team-best nine points through nine games. She also leads Harvard with 29 shots, 21 of which have come on target.
Balleza and the Crimson (4-5, 1-2 Ivy) return to the field for a three-game road trip, beginning with Cornell on Saturday. Harvard will stay on the road for dates with Colgate and Boston College on Sunday and Wednesday, respectively.