The Harvard field hockey team (1-1) will attempt to snap losing streaks against two New England squads this weekend as it takes on Providence on Saturday before returning to Jordan Field on Sunday for a contest against No. 17 Boston College.
The Crimson has lost four straight matchups to the Friars (1-2) and seven straight to the Eagles (3-1) over the past few seasons.
But the Harvard team—led defensively by the goalie tandem of co-captain Cynthia Tassopoulos and junior Jenn Hatfield—looks to build off of a solid opening weekend and compete with traditionally tough opponents.
“No game is going to be a given,” sophomore Sydney Jenkins said. “We just need to be confident. We are expecting very difficult matches but nothing impossible.”
Last weekend, Harvard pulled off a late 1-0 victory over Holy Cross before suffering a heartbreaking, 2-1 loss to Sacred Heart two days later, allowing the tying goal with close to five minutes remaining in regulation and ultimately losing in double overtime.
Despite the loss, the Crimson remains positive about its first two contests.
“I don’t think we could’ve asked for a better opening weekend,” sophomore Noel Painter said. “I know that we lost on Monday which was hard, but I think we got a lot out of it. We were able to practice being down a man and practice being in overtime against teams other than ourselves.”
Another new look this season was first year head coach Tjerk van Herwaarden’s implementation of a goalie rotation, using three-year starter and all-Ivy honorable mention Tassopoulos against the Crusaders and Hatfield in her first career start against the Pioneers.
Both performed under pressure, with Tassopoulos recording a shutout with four saves and Hatfield recording 15 saves before suffering a close loss.
“Cynthia and Jenn have very different playing styles,” Painter said. “But in practice, they are always rotating and switching out so I think it really didn’t affect us that much.... I have great confidence in both goalies.”
“Judging from last year, the goalies definitely have become more competitive,” Jenkins added. “And it seems like—though they already have the mindset: don’t let a ball get past them—now it’s just even further advanced.”
In the first two games of the season, sophomore Catriona McDonald and junior Caroline McNeill each scored a goal, while sophomore Caitlin Rea has contributed two assists.
On Saturday, Harvard will travel to Providence to face off against the Friars, who are coming off of their first win of the season—a 6-2 victory over Kent State.
Prior to the win, Providence had taken both No. 25 Maine and No. 12 Boston University to overtime before finally succumbing in extra time, 3-2 and 1-0 respectively.
Sophomore forward Daniella Bernasconi leads the team with four points and two goals, while sophomore Deidra Clymer and senior Kathi Weldman have split time in net for the Friars.