Harvard Field Hockey Opens 2013 Season Against Massachusetts, Bryant

Harvard Field Hockey Opens 2013 Season Against Massachusetts, Bryant

The Crimson open the season with two games this weekend (photo courtesy: Harvard Athletic Communications). 

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – The Harvard field hockey team will open its 2013 campaign this weekend with a pair of matchups.  The Crimson travels to Massachusetts Friday, Sept. 6 before welcoming Bryant to Jordan Field, Sunday, Sept. 8.

About Harvard
The Crimson returns 18 players for the 2013 season. The group of returning letterwinners is highlighted by juniors Noel Painter and Caitlin Rae. Painter, who appeared in all 16 games at forward last year, led the Crimson in goals (5) and points (13), while Rae, Harvard's Most Outstanding Field Hockey Player for the 2012 season, contributed a goal and four assists from the midfield.  Rae also competed at Team USA's Women's National Championship in May.

Related Article: Rea to Compete at Team USA's Women's National Championship

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The Ivy League Digital Network, which was launched in the summer, will stream four of Harvard's seven home games this season. Subscribers to the network can watch matches both live and On-Demand at their convenience, and will have access to live and On-Demand content for all home Harvard athletics events throughout the duration of their subscription.

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In the Cage
Cynithia Tassopoulos '13 had been the anchor of the Crimson defense for the past four seasons, finishing her collegiate career ranked third on the Harvard all-time charts with 540 career saves. The Crimson will now look to senior Jenn Hatfield, who started and played in two games last season recording 22 saves and sophomore Issy Davies who has yet to see game action, to fill the void.

New Faces
Six freshmen join the squad for the 2013 season; Marissa Balleza, Kyla Cordrey, Sarah Finnemore, Annie Morefield, Sophie van Weede, Elizabeth Warner.  This group comes from five states and one from the Netherlands. The rookies comprise of three backs, two forwards and one midfielder.

On the Sidelines
Tjerk van Herwaarden is entering his second season at the helm of the Harvard program, after leaving Maryland where he garnered five national championships in seven seasons as an assistant. In his first season, he led the Crimson to a 3-13 record. He coached two players to the second team All-Ivy League squad and one player to Academic All-Ivy League team. This past June, van Herwaarden was part of the Team USA coaching staff at the International Hockey Federation's World League Semi-Final in London.

Season Opener
Harvard has won nine of the last 11 season openers and is an impressive 26-11-2 (.720) in the first game of the season. Under current head coach Tjerk van Herwaarden the Crimson is 1-0 on opening day after topping Holy Cross, 1-0, last year.

Scouting Massachusetts
The Minutewomen, who are ranked No. 14 in the initial NFHCA Coaches Poll, enter the game with a perfect 3-0 record after winning two games at the Maine Invitational, which included a 3-2 upset over No. 9 Michigan Aug. 31, and taking their home opener against UMass Lowell. Sophomore Brooke Sabia, who leads the way in scoring with four goals, netted the game-winner against the Wolverines. Goalie Sam Carlino has tallied 13 saves in three games.

All-Time Against the Minutewomen
Friday's game marks the fourth time Harvard opens the season against Massachusetts with the Crimson defeating the Minutewomen in 2004 and 2005 before dropping the season opener at Massachusetts in 2007. The Crimson trail the all-time series that dates back to 1980, 5-11-1, and look to snap a five game losing streak against the Minutewomen.

Scouting Bryant
The Bulldogs, which were 6-13 in the 2012 season, opened 2013 with a 1-1 showing last weekend. Bryant dropped its first game to Providence before pulling out a 4-3 overtime victory against Colgate. The Bulldogs are led by Rosie Birth, who posted a hat trick in the win against Colgate, and goalie Megan Hancock, who has made 19 saves in two games. The Bulldogs hit the road for the next six games stopping first in Providence, R.I., on Friday Sept. 6 to take on Brown.

All-Time Against the Bulldogs
Harvard leads the all-time series against Bryant, 4-0.  The Crimson defeated the Bulldogs, 4-0, on Sept. 24 last season. In the previous four meetings, the Crimson has outscored the Bulldogs 15-5.

Against Ranked Opponents
Six of Harvard's opponents this season are currently ranked in the NFHCA initial poll, including Princeton (3), Massachusetts (14), Northeastern (15), Boston University (15), Boston College (16) and New Hampshire (20).

Up Next
Following this weekend's matches, the Crimson will travel to Holy Cross to face the Crusaders on Sept. 13 at 7 p.m. Harvard returns to Jordon Field on Sept. 28 at noon to go head-to-head with Penn.