Issy Davies played a tremendous game in goal for Harvard, making five saves (Gil Talbot).
CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – For 66:17 Saturday, the Harvard field hockey team (5-3, 1-1 Ivy) kept the Ivy League's top-scoring team off the board, but a goal with 3:43 left to play from Penn's Gina Guccione sent the game to overtime where the Quakers (7-1, 2-0) would seal the win 11 minutes later.
Harvard was the stronger team out of the gate, getting on the board 9:42 into the action. Off a penalty corner, Ellie Cookson fielded the insert from Sarah Finnemore, after a quick move Cookson sent a brisk pass to Balleza at the top of the arc where she drilled home the shot inside the left corner. The goal was her eighth of the season and 29th of her career. With one more goal Balleza will join an impressive group of Harvard Field Hockey players as just the sixth student-athlete in program history to record 30 goals.
The Crimson's defense locked down for the remainder of the half, with senior goaltender Issy Davies making two impressive saves along with way to carry the 1-0 lead into the intermission.
It seemed Harvard had made it a 2-0 contest nine minutes into the second half when Elizabeth Jacobson scored off another Crimson penalty corner, but after the referees met for a conference the goal was waived off and the score remained 1-0.
Penn's attack, which struggled to find rhythm in the opening period, turned on the pressure in the second half, boasting an 11-2 shots advantage over the Crimson. Harvard continued to do a paramount job of keeping the nation's leading scorer, Alexa Hoover (17 goals) off the board, but her teammate Guccione would finally get the Quakers on the scoresheet late in the second half.
Resuming play from a penalty corner, Claire Kneizys worked the ball through the right side of the arc before sliding a pass to the other side of the net where Guccione pushed it to the back of the cage.
Penn continued to attack in the 7-on-7 extra frame, but Harvard stood tall and turned away each of the Quakers' early rushes. A penalty corner with about three minutes left in the first overtime gave Penn the opportunity it needed to take the win. Elizabeth Hitti sent an initial shot on goal that Davies made a sprawling save on, but the rebound hopped to the far post where Elise Tilton knocked it home for the game-winner.
Harvard snaps a four-game win streak with the loss, but will look to get back on track tomorrow when it hosts Fairfield at 2 p.m. at Harvard Field Hockey Stadium.