Harvard at UC Davis
Harvard field hockey begins its 2017 campaign with three contests in California. (Gil Talbot)
CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – Following one of its best seasons in program history, 20th-ranked Harvard field hockey will open the 2017 campaign on the West Coast with games at UC Davis (Sept. 1, 2:30 p.m. ET), No. 25 Pacific (Sept. 2, 2:30 p.m. ET) and No. 13 Stanford (Sept. 4, 3 p.m, ET).
The First Line
- Harvard field hockey returns in 2017 fresh off its fifth NCAA Tournament appearance and fourth Ivy League title in 2016. The Crimson finished the year 12-6 (7-0 Ivy League), matching a program record for wins and capturing its first conference title since 2004, Harvard's first outright Ivy crown in field hockey since 1990.
- Several top contributors from 2016 are back for Harvard, including sophomore Bente van Vlijmen (eight goals), who was a Longstreth/NFHCA Division I Second Team All-America selection in addition to being named Ivy League Rookie of the Year. Juniors Libby Manela (G) and Kathleen Young (F), each Second Team All-Ivy selections, are also back for the Crimson, as well as All-Ivy Honorable Mention midfielders Ellie Cookson and Emily Duarte.
- The Crimson will play eight home games in 2017, with Connecticut, New Hampshire, Lafayette and BU joining four Ivy schools in visiting Cambridge.
One of the top defensive teams in the nation last season, Harvard returns seven starters from its 2016 NCAA squad, including junior goalkeeper Libby Manela, who finished the year 10-2 with a 1.42 GAA (14th NCAA). Senior Ellie Cookson returns as one of Harvard's top playmakers -she led the team and the Ivy League with 10 assists. Sophomore Bente van Vlijmen, the only freshman in the nation named a first or second team All-American, is Harvard's top returning goal-scorer.
Scouting UC Davis
First year head coach Britt Brody, who played at Dartmouth, will lead the Aggies against the Crimson in the first game of the year for both teams. UC Davis (5-13 in 2016), which plays in America East, has eight freshmen on the roster, losing its top six point-scorers from a season ago.
After losing its first three games to start the 2016 season, Pacific won 16 of its next 17 games before falling to Stanford in the America East championship game. A prolific scoring team from a season ago (4.38 goals/game, 2nd NCAA), the Tigers return their top four scorers – Kriekie van Wyk (22 goals, 13 assists), Savannah Burns (14 goals, 13 assists), Alicia Muinos (12 goals, 4 assists), and Ash Rutherford (6 goals, 14 assists).
Stanford was one of the top defensive teams in the nation in 2016 (1.18 goals allowed/game) in large part to goaltender Kelsey Bing, a third team All-American as a freshman. The defending America East champions return several top scorers, including seniors Sarah Helgeson and Katie Keyser as well as sophomore Jessica Welch.
Harvard is 3-2 in season opening contests under head coach Tjerk van Herwaarden and 28-13-2 all-time in season opening contests since the program's first season in 1974.
On The Right Track
Tjerk van Herwaarden has guided the Crimson back onto the national scene since taking over the helm of the program six years ago. In addition to leading Harvard to the Ivy title and NCAA Tournament, the 12 wins in 2016 matched a program record. His 42 wins in the first five years of his career at Harvard is just one shy of the most ever by a Crimson field hockey coach.
Ivy League Network
The Ivy League Network returns for a fifth season as the home for all live streaming and on-demand video content for each of the conference's eight institutions. Broadcast in full HD and featuring a live score bug and play-by-play and color commentary, the Ivy League Network provides fans with unprecedented access to the Ancient Eight.
Multiple subscription options are available to fans, including school-specific and league-wide passes. To learn more about the Ivy League Network or to sign-up today, click here.