Kim Goh and the Crimson defense ranks third in goals against among Ivy League teams (photo Gil Talbot).
CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – The Harvard field hockey team will go on its final trip of the season this weekend when it takes on Dartmouth and Vermont. The Crimson will be in search of its second Ivy League win Saturday, before rounding out its non-conference slate at Vermont Sunday.
The Crimson (3-10, 1-4 Ivy League) has dropped five in a row after winning back-to-back games against Bryant Sept. 24 and Brown Sept. 29. Harvard is tied with Brown and Yale for sixth place in the Ivy League standings, one game behind Penn for fifth. The Crimson defense has been its strong point this season, as Harvard ranks tied for third in goals allowed (36) among Ancient Eight teams.
A pair of sophomores lead the Crimson in scoring with Noel Painter (10 points) and Caitlin Rea (six points) sitting on top of the team rankings. Painter has found the back of the cage four times and added two assists, while Rea has one goal and the team-lead in helpers with four.
Last Time Out
The Crimson stumbled on the road to No. 2 Princeton, 7-0, Oct. 20. Harvard held off the Tigers for most of the first 25 minutes as Cynthia Tassopoulos made 10 saves to keep the Crimson within one. Princeton scored three times in the final eight minutes of the first stanza and followed with three second-half tallies to pull away.
D the Key
In each of Harvard's three wins this season the team's defense has been the driving reason for success. The Crimson has produced two shutouts, versus Holy Cross and Brown, while allowing 0.33 goals per game in wins. Harvard boasts a .955 save percentage during victories.
Tassopoulos in the Rankings
Cynthia Tassopoulos ranks with the nation's best in a pair of categories. Harvard's co-captain is eighth in saves per game (7.73) and 27th in save percentage (.739) among all qualifying goalies in the nation. Shannon McSweeney of Brown (10.79 saves per game) and Lena Wimmert of James Madison (.832 save percentage) lead the NCAA in saves per game and save percentage, respectively.
On the Harvard charts, Tassopoulos ranks third in the history of the program in saves. Last week she became just the third Harvard goalie to eclipse the 500-save mark.
Dartmouth (9-5, 4-1 Ivy League) has won three straight, including two wins over Ivy League opponents. The Big Green sits one game behind first-place Princeton in the race for the Ivy League's automatic bid to the NCAA tournament. Ali Savage, last week's Ivy Co-Player of the Week, is Dartmouth's best scoring threat, as the sophomore leads the team with 22 points on nine goals and four assists. Senior Lisa Masini is close behind with eight goals and five helpers. In the cage, senior Jenna Stearns and sophomore Ellen Meyer have split time throughout the season. Stearns owns a 6-3 record with a 2.36 goals against average and Meyer is 3-2 while allowing 3.18 goals per contest.
The Catamounts (1-15) have not won since Sept. 23 after picking up their lone victory of the year against Siena, 1-0. Vermont, which competes in the challenging America East conference, has been outshot 225-90 this season and outscored 60-22. A bright spot for the Catamounts has been the play of goalie Stephanie Zygmunt, who ranks third in the nation in saves per game with 10.13. Zygmunt, who sees 22.3 shots per game, has blocked .736 percent of opponent's attempts.
The game against Vermont will be streamed for free at http://nsnsports.net/uvm.
After this weekend, the Crimson will have one remaining game on the schedule. Harvard hosts Columbia Nov. 3 and will honor the team's seniors with a pregame ceremony