Field Hockey Drops Close, 3-1 Decision to No. 9 Princeton

Field Hockey Drops Close, 3-1 Decision to No. 9 Princeton

The Crimson fought but ultimately dropped a tough, 3-1 decision to No. 9 Princeton on Saturday. (Gil Talbot)

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – The Harvard field hockey team gave the defending national champion No. 9 Princeton a run for its money at Jordan Field on Saturday, but the visiting Tigers (9-4, 5-0 Ivy) escaped with a 3-1 win over the feisty Crimson (5-8, 1-4 Ivy).

Princeton, which outshot Harvard, 21-4 on the day, scored first just over 10 minutes into the game. Teresa Benvenuti corralled a rebound and snuck it right through Jenn Hatfield's legs. Noel Painter was able to get Harvard right back in the thick of things, however, converting a nice touch pass from Marissa Balleza right in front of the cage to knot things up at 1-1 with 20 minutes remaining in the opening stanza.

After a fair amount of back-and-forth play between the two squads, the Tigers pounced again, as Julia Reinprecht took a deep shot from the top of the circle, hitting the top left side of the cage, just out of Hatfield's reach to make it 2-1 before the break.

Harvard continued its aggressive defense in the second stanza, consistently poking away at the Princeton attack, but Cat Caro extended the Tigers' lead to 3-1 at the 43:28 mark after she stole a pass and snuck one in the left side of the cage.

Hatfield was peppered with shots, but came up big on multiple occasions, registering 10 saves on the afternoon in precarious situations. The Tigers held an offensive advantage, leading in shots (21-4) and penalty corners (8-1) to collect the Ivy League win.

The Crimson looks to shake off the close loss as it visits crosstown rival Northeastern on Wednesday at 6 p.m. in Dedham, Mass.