After losing its Ivy League opener, the Harvard field hockey team looks to pick up its first win in conference play when it travels to Franklin Field to play Penn on Saturday. After winning its first game against Holy Cross, the team has dropped its last four in a row, with the most recent game 2-1 overtime loss against Yale last Saturday.
The Crimson (1-4) has defeated the Quakers (4-3) each of the past two years, including its last trip to Franklin Field when it walked away with a 2-0 win. This is the Crimson’s second conference game of the year as it hopes to win the Ivy League for the first time since 2004. The team is aiming to take advantage of a soft schedule early in the Ivy season.
“One of our big goals for this season is definitely to improve our Ivy League performance,” co-captain Kim Goh said. “There are a lot of teams in the Ivy League that we feel we can beat, especially a couple coming up, so we want to make sure we capitalize on that opportunity.”
The team returns eight starters from last year’s fifth place squad, which finished one spot above the Quakers after tying them for last place in the conference in 2010.
Although Harvard has managed only four goals in four losses this year, the offense has produced 28 shots (10 on goal) in their last two games after only managing 19 (nine on goal) in the first three games combined. Goh noted that the team has become more willing to take risks as they adjust to the format of new coach Tjerk van Herwaarden’s offense.
“We are getting much better at working with the structure [of our offense],” Goh said. “Our strength is getting a sense of when to up the tempo and push forward and when to hold the ball back and get control of the game. We are getting a better sense of how to gauge the game and play the tempo. We’re feeling pretty good heading into this weekend.”