Noel Painter's seventh goal of the year served as Saturday's game-winner (Gil Talbot).
CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – The Harvard field hockey team used two first half goals and a strong defensive second half to knock off the first-place Cornell Big Red, 2-1, Saturday at Jordan Field. Catriona McDonald and Noel Painter accounted for the Crimson goals and Issy Davies made four solid stops in the cage to improve Harvard to 8-4, 2-2 on the year. The loss is the first in conference for Cornell and drops them to 8-4, 3-1.
With eight wins already this year, Harvard matches its win total from a year ago with five games still left in the regular season. Cornell came into the contest leading the Ancient Eight with a 3.14 goals per game mark, but the staunch Harvard defense limited the Big Red to just one goal in the second half.
The intensity was high early on and continued throughout the match, as seven cards were issued. Harvard used the intesnity to its advantage, generating a number of early attacks before finally breaking through in the 18th minute. McDonald notched her second goal of the year, deflecting Hannah Wellington's drive that came from outside the circle.
Harvard maintained consistent offensive zone pressure following the goal, turning it into another tally at the 24:00 mark. With Cornell attempting to clear the ball, Painter made a nice stick play to halt the clear, setting herself up for an open shot at the Cornell cage which she drilled home for her team-best seventh of the season.
Davies made her second save of the first half in the final minute, keeping the Crimson lead at 2-0 heading into the intermission.
Cornell looked to swing the momentum in its favor in the second half, firing seven shots and taking five penalty corners, but the stingy Harvard defense allowed just one goal to hold on for the 2-1 victory. Davies made two more saves in the second period, both coming in the final 10 minutes.
Harvard is just one game out of first place in the Ivy League with its three final conference games remaining against Princeton, Dartmouth and Columbia, all teams tied atop the standings at 3-1. The Crimson hosts New Hampshire Sunday, Oct. 19 at 2 p.m. in an out-of-conference clash before heading to New Jersey to take on the Tigers on Saturday, Oct. 25.