No. 6 Field Hockey Advances to NCAA Quarterfinals, Dominant in 6-1 Win Over No. 9 Penn State

The Crimson celebrated the program's first NCAA Tournament win after beating No. 9 Penn State, 6-1. 

Six different scorers for the Crimson helped No. 6 Harvard field hockey (17-1) earn a 6-1 win over No. 9 Penn State (12-6) in the first round of the NCAA Tournament.

Harvard earned its first NCAA Tournament victory in program history with the win, beating Penn State in the first ever meeting between the two programs.

The Crimson will play No. 3 Princeton in the regional final on Sunday (Nov. 11) at 1 p.m.

Maddie Earle, Bente van Vlijmen, and Rachel Greenwood scored first half goals, and Tessel Huibregtsen, Olivia Hoover, and Kathleen Young scored in the second half for the Crimson.

First-year goalkeeper Ellie Shahbo made seven saves in a game full of offensive chances, with the majority coming from Harvard.

With the game scoreless early on, Shahbo made two good saves in the opening minutes on Penn State's first penalty corner of the game.

Then Harvard's offense went to work, dominating possession over the next 10 minutes and taking a quick 2-0 lead.

The first goal came after a great defensive play by Rachel Greenwood, who intercepted a Penn State pass and found Kathleen Young who fed a pass to Maddie Earle for the goal from right in front of the net at 12:06.

Just 23 seconds later, the Crimson had its second goal of the game. A great run by Huibregtsen into the circle set up a great shot from van Vlijmen at 12:29 to put Harvard up 2-0.

Then Greenwood made several great moves on a quick restart and scored on a reverse stick shot at 16:58 to put the Crimson ahead by three.

Penn State scored off a penalty corner at 18:43, but Harvard maintained its 3-1 lead heading into the half.

Harvard withstood some early second half pressure from the Nittany Lions, then posted two quick goals to put the game out of reach for good.

A fantastic run by Huibregtsen from the near sideline after a great defensive play set up a low hard shot into the cage at 39:36. Then Hoover corralled a long pass from Olivia Allin and scored at 42:41 to make it 5-1.

Rounding out the scoring for Harvard was Young, who added a goal at 59:04.

Harvard Highlights

  • Junior Maddie Earle now leads the Ivy League with 16 goals and 37 points (16 goals, five assists) on the season.
  • Senior captain Kathleen Young (goal, assist) and sophomore Tessel Huibregtsen (goal, assist) led all Harvard scorers.
  • First-year goalkeeper Ellie Shahbo (seven saves) has won 11 straight starts (UMass, Yale, Maine, Penn, BU, Cornell, Princeton, Boston College, Dartmouth, Columbia, Penn State), allowing just four goals in that span.
  • Senior Emily Duarte added a defensive save, her second of the season.

Game Notes

  • Harvard won its first NCAA Tournament game in its sixth trip to the NCAA Tournament. Harvard has previously played for a national championship in 1991, 2000, 2002, 2004, and 2016.
  • Harvard improved to 5-1 against ranked opponents this season, as the Crimson has wins against No. 18 Maine, No. 23 Boston University, No. 3 Princeton, No. 13 Boston College, and No. 9 Penn State.
  • Harvard earned its second win ever against a Big Ten opponent, and its first since 2004.