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The Harvard women’s field hockey team found itself in a very familiar position this weekend against University of Pennsylvania. The Crimson (6-4, 2-0 Ivy) fought through yet another double-overtime to overcome the Quakers (6-3, 1-1 Ivy), 3-2, and continue on undefeated in Ivy League play. This is the third Crimson game this season that has gone into overtime.
“I think we came out and played very well,” said coach Tjerk van her Waarden. “I think in the second half we kind of let go a little bit of our swing and we knew that Penn was going to be dangerous team. So we had to go into overtime. Again!”
Balleza’s 88th minute game winning goal was her second of the day—she converted a short corner head-on and managed to steal a victory yet again.
“Marissa has been doing what she’s been doing her whole entire career,” van her Waarden said. “We were all tied up and she was able to get the goal in overtime. I think that really tells you a lot about who she is and what she is made of. I don’t know how many game-winning goals she has scored in her career but I know it has been a few…she is able to stand up and do the right thing at the right moment.”
Balleza’s second goal of the night means she is tied for second in the Harvard history books for most game-winning goals in her college career. Chloe Keating ’11 and Balleza both have scored 10 game-winning goals for the Crimson. Balleza already has 16 points this season, bringing her career total to 96—only six fewer than the current Crimson record.
Balleza’s first goal of the night put Harvard up 2-0 in the second half. Senior defender Sophie van Weede got the Crimson on the board with her first goal of the season in the 25th minute. However, Harvard’s hopes of winning the match in normal time were dashed when Penn’s Alexa Hoover retaliated with two goals in the second half at the 45th and 63rd minutes.
“We were up two nothing and it would’ve been really nice to end the game in regular time,” co-captain Kyla Cordrey said. “We let up two goals in the second half and it was a little disappointing. But we kind of got back into our groove in the second overtime and we were able to win in overtime which is always exciting.”
Sophomore goalkeeper Libby Manela continued to start for the Crimson and made four saves during this weekend’s game. Manela improves her record as goalkeeper to 4-0.
“Sometimes we need people to stand up and lead the team and I think Libby did that today,” van her Waarden said. “A goalkeeper is able to do that just by her presence. She is able to give them an extra push and I think Libby showed up in a big big way today.”
The Quakers are the second Ivy League opponent that the Crimson has played so far this season. With last week’s victory over Yale, Harvard moves forward in Ivy League play as one of three undefeated teams. The Crimson is joined by No. 11 Princeton and Brown as the only teams who have not yet lost a game. Harvard will continue its conference play with a game against the Bears next Saturday in Providence.
“The next game is the biggest game – our next game is against Brown,” said Cordrey. “Right now we are going to focus on Brown for the next week and hopefully we will be the only team left undefeated in the Ivy League.”
—Staff writer Amanda Fang can be reached at email@example.com.
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