Athlete of the Week: Jacobson's Timely Goals Lead Field Hockey Past Brown

Senior Elizabeth Jacobson, pictured in action against Colgate on Sept. 20, finished her career with two goals over Columbia.

Nearly 60 minutes into play, the Harvard field hockey team found itself down one goal to Brown in a crucial conference tilt. The outcome of this game would be a big decider for Harvard in the Ivy League standings; a win would place them at third with a 4-3 record, while a loss would have them in the bottom half of the league with Penn and Dartmouth below .500.

But at a critical stage in the game, co-captain Elizabeth Jacobson took fate into her own hands. After drawing a penalty corner, junior forward Sarah Finnemore fed the ball into the attacking circle and Jacobson wasted no time in faking a pass to shake off the defense, firing a backhanded shot to find the back of the net to tie the game.

“That goal was not studied or practiced,” said coach Tjerk van Herwaarden. “She just followed her intuition that led to the third goal…I think that shows her talent and capabilities.”

Only four minutes later, the Crimson was awarded yet another penalty corner. Jacobson again faked another pass and a spin before slicing a forehanded ball past the Bears’ goalkeeper Katie Hammaker to take the lead.


Jacobson’s two unassisted goals were the turning point for Harvard in the game against Brown. An insurance goal from sophomore forward Ellie Cookson later, the Crimson had sealed a 4-2 victory.

Jacobson is not only an influential player on the field, but off the field as well. Her transition into co-captain has been a seamless one.

“[Jacobson] is great on the field…she has awesome shots and is always accurate,” co-captain Caroline Code said. “Playing wise, she covers all the bases. But she’s also a great leader and co-captain – off the field she’s down to earth and fierce at the same time. She’s a powerhouse.”

Jacobson’s ascension to co-captain seemed natural to her peers and coach. Having frequently played the mid-fielder position in her previous years for the Crimson, Jacobson has seemed to truly find her place as a starting forward. With 41 shots this year, Jacobson only trails Balleza for the lead in Crimson shots.

Her move into more of an attacking position also signified her acceptance of a larger leadership role on the team.

“She has developed tremendously over the past few years,” van Herwaarden said. “She was always trying to become a team player as a midfielder, but I think [in] her role right now as captain and one of the starters up front she has matured as an athlete.”

Throughout the season thus far, Jacobson has totaled eight goals and four assists. Despite her numerous statistical achievements in field hockey, Jacobson would like her legacy to be about something other than points on a score-board.

“I want to leave my work ethic behind,” Jacobson said. “Just to be remembered as giving it my all, not holding back. Hopefully if Caroline and I give everything 100 percent it leads the team to give 100 percent. I think it’s definitely something I strive to leave behind.”

The team is scheduled for four more Ivy League matches later in the season, with a game against Cornell this weekend. To establish the Crimson field hockey program on the national stage is also something that Jacobson hopes to see.

“Our main goal for the season is growth and progress,” Jacobson said. “To get Harvard on the map for field hockey in the country. Winning Ivies is definitely awesome and a goal for us, but our main goal is to set up for the season to come.”

Making an impact on the Ivy stage is something that seems within reach for Jacobson and the team.

“Eli is having the best season of her career so far,” van Herwaarden said. “She seems to have the right energy week in week out for each game. Hopefully we’ll enjoy seven more games of this.”


—Staff writer Amanda Fang can be reached at


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