Co-captain Caroline Code and the Crimson face Princeton Saturday (Gil Talbot).
CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – Sitting just one game back in the Ivy League standings, the Harvard field hockey team (8-5, 2-2 Ivy) heads to Princeton on Saturday, Oct. 25 for a critical battle with the first-place Tigers (4-9, 3-1 Ivy).
The Tigers are tied atop the standings with Columbia, Cornell and Dartmouth. The Big Red is scheduled to visit Brown Saturday, while Dartmouth and Columbia will face off Sunday. The Crimson concludes the regular season with a visit to Dartmouth on November 1 before hosting Columbia in the finale on November 8.
Ivy League Digital Network
After an incredibly successful inaugural year that saw over 1,000 events streamed live, the Ivy League Digital Network has returned for 2014-15, providing fans with unprecedented coverage of the Ivy League.
Multiple subscription options are available to fans including school-specific and league-wide passes. To learn more about the Ivy League Digital Network or to sign-up today, click here.
Use the all new Social Stream on GoCrimson.com to stay connected with the Crimson on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube this year. The Social Stream brings the conversation from all four platforms into one convenient location, allowing fans of all Harvard Athletics teams to monitor the action in real time.
The Crimson is coming off a 1-1 weekend at Jordan Field that saw Harvard knock off Cornell, 2-1, for the first time since 2011, but then fell to New Hampshire in a 1-0 defensive duel that ended in the first overtime. Seniors Catriona McDonald and Noel Painter recorded first half goals and the Crimson defense fended off a strong effort by Cornell in the second half to hold on for the win. The next day, Issy Davies racked up eight saves, her second-highest total this year, against New Hampshire, but the Wildcats held Harvard scoreless to earn the win.
Painter's goal against the Big Red gave her a team-high seven in 2014. She is tied for seventh in the Ivy League, while her 18 points is tied for ninth. Sophomore Marissa Balleza ranks third in the Ancient Eight with 44 shots, resulting in six goals, including three game-winners. Her 13 points is the second-best mark on the Crimson. Rookie Ellie Cookson also ranks among the conference's best in assists. With nine in her first season, she is tied for second overall.
Strong defensive play and exceptional net-minding has kept the Crimson in a position to win almost every game this season. Davies, as the last line of defense has posted a 1.47 goals-against average, the second-lowest in the Ivy League.
Scoring Early and Often
The Crimson has scored a league-best 23 first half goals this season and are 7-0 when scoring the first goal. Dartmouth is the next closest team with 20 first half goals, while Princeton has managed just 10 goals in the opening 35 minutes of contests.
Securing a Spot in the Record Books
With seven goals and 18 points this season, senior Noel Painter has moved into the top-10 in the Harvard record books in both categories. With 26 goals, she ranks fifth all-time, while her 66 points places her seventh.
Series History: Princeton
The Tigers have been the dominant team in the all-time series, holding a 5-35-2 record over the Crimson since the first meeting back in 1974. Harvard has fallen in the last 20 meetings with Princeton, including last year's 3-1 loss at Jordan Field. The Crimson's last victory came on October 23, 1993 in a 2-1 overtime triumph.
About the Tigers
Princeton sports a 4-9 overall record, but remains tied for first in the Ivy League with a 3-1 mark. The Tigers only conference loss came on October 3 at Columbia. The out-of-conference schedule for Princeton has been quite daunting, as it is 0-5 in all five of its matchups against teams ranked in the most recent NFHCA poll. The Tigers most recent meeting with a ranked team resulted in an 8-1 loss to No. 2 Maryland, but they bounced back with a 4-0 shutout against Brown last Saturday.
The trio of Maddie Copeland, Sydney Kirby and Ryan McCarthy each have 12 points to pace the offense. Kirby and McCarthy, both with five goals and two assists, have started all 13 games, while Copeland has made her mark with six goals primarily off the bench. In the cage, Anya Gersoff has made 12 starts, giving up an average of 2.77 goals per game with a save percentage of .691.
Lending a Helping Hand
With nine assists in her rookie campaign, Cookson is tied for eighth most in a single season in program history. With one more assist, she can become just the eighth Harvard field hockey player to record double-digit assists in a single year. The all-time record is 18 set by Jen McDavitt in 2004.
Ivy League Weekly Honors
Sept. 9 - Noel Painter – Honor Roll
Sept. 16 – Ellie Cookson, Issy Davies – Honor Roll
Sept. 23 – Ellie Cockson, Marissa Balleza – Honor Roll
Sept. 30 – Marissa Balleza – Honor Roll
Oct. 7 – Noel Painter, Elizabeth Jacobson – Honor Roll
Oct. 14 – Hannah Wellington – Co-Rookie of the Week, Kaitlyn Boudah – Honor Roll
Oct. 21 – Issy Davies, Catriona McDonald – Honor Roll