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For the first time in a dozen years, the Harvard field hockey team can call itself the Ancient Eight champions.
A natural hat trick by freshman phenom Bente van Vlijmen in the span of just over 12 minutes helped the No. 16 Crimson (11-5, 6-0 Ivy) take home a 3-1 triumph against conference bottom feeder Dartmouth (4-11, 0-6 Ivy). The win, paired with Princeton’s loss to Cornell that same day, assured the crown would return to Cambridge for the first time since 2004.
After a scoreless first stanza that saw Harvard dominate the Big Green in shots by a 13-2 margin, van Vlijmen opened up the scoring just five minutes into the second frame as the freshman’s shot made its way through Dartmouth keeper Haley Valerio’s legs. It was the first time Valerio was unable to keep the ball out after making nine saves in the first half.
Nine minutes later, it was van Vlijmen again off of a penalty corner after being set up by sophomore midfielder Emily Duarte. The freshman completed her natural hat trick just three minutes later after single handedly dribbling to the left and sending a shot past Valerio. The Ziest, the Netherlands native’s hat trick was the first in her collegiate career and sent the Crimson well on its way to the title.
Dartmouth prevented Harvard from picking up a clean sheet when junior captain Morgan Philie found the back of the net but it was too little too late for the Big Green. The goal was the only blemish for Harvard netminders Libby Manela and Olivia Startup, who were only made to make one save each.
With the Ivy title secure thanks to the team’s 11th victory this season, the highest win count under Harvard coach Tjerk van Herwaarden’s, the Crimson closes its regular season at home against Columbia on Senior Day. The team will then wait until the NCAA Selection Show on November 6 to figure out where it will play in the NCAA Tournament as the Ancient Eight’s automatic qualifier.
—Staff writer Julio Fierro can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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