After opening its season against a variety of nonconference opponents, No.16 Harvard field hockey (6-2; 1-0 Ivy) traveled to New Haven, Conn., this past Saturday to face off against Yale. In a thrilling overtime battle, the Crimson left victorious, beating the Bulldogs 2-1.
The team then returned home on Sunday to face off against Lafayette (5-4, 1-1). After falling behind 1-0 early on, Harvard rallied to score six unanswered goals to seal its victory.
No. 16 Harvard 6, Lafayette 1
The Crimson returned home on Sunday to face off against a tough opponent in Lafayette. Although the Leopards dropped its previous two contests heading into Saturday, it remained a team known for its strong defensive presence. Coming into the weekend, Lafayette had conceded an average of 1.1 goals per game, so the Crimson knew that scoring goals would be no easy task.
After a stalemate for the first twenty minutes, the Leopards scored the game’s opening goal in the 25th minute. Despite falling behind, Harvard’s offense ultimately took over, as the team scored six unanswered goals to close the game. The team’s first goal came in the 27th minute, as sophomore midfielder Bente van Vlijmen gathered a blocked shot and fired a reverse stick shot into the top corner of the net. In the 32nd minute, freshman forward Mimi Tarrant played a pass to sophomore forward Maddie Earle, whose shot from close sailed into the net. Hannah Pearce closed off the half for the Crimson by scoring off of a penalty corner.
The second half saw Harvard continue its offensive onslaught. In a beautiful run, junior forward Kathleen Young saw her shot from a wide angle beat the Lafayette goalkeeper. The goal extends Young’s scoring streak to five games. Over the course of those five games, she has racked up ten points, scoring four goals and tallying two assists.
In the 66th minute, van Vlijmen scored her second goal of the day off a straightaway shot. Junior back Olivia Allin scored Harvard’s final goal in the 68thh minute off of a penalty corner. With the result, senior goalkeeper Olivia Startup improves to 4-0 in her four starts this season. Additionally, Harvard has now won its past four contests, beating its opponents by a combined 18-5 margin.
“We always want to treat every game with the same intensity regardless of whether it’s in conference or out of conference” Startup said. “In particular, these nonconference games are very important to our national ranking. Having such a tough weekend, we wanted to come out with a really strong win to cap off our performance”.
No. 16 Harvard 2, Yale 1 (OT)
The Crimson opened Ivy league play by traveling to New Haven to face off against Yale. The contest didn’t begin as Harvard would have hoped, as Yale scored the game’s opening goal twenty minutes into the contest. From that point on, Harvard dominated the action, finishing with 28 shots to the Bulldog’s 8. However, the team was unable to translate those shots into the goal it needed for much of the game. The team, having been in similar situations earlier this season, knew that it didn’t need to panic; it just needed to focus on its plan.
“Every Ivy game does hold a little more weight, but we always focus on ourselves”, Wellington said. “We view it as just the next game; just the next problem that we’re going to tackle as a team. We know that when we can play our game, there is no team that we can’t beat”.
In a late attempt to save the game, Harvard pulled junior goalkeeper Libby Manela with just over five minutes to play in regulation. The team responded with a flurry, particularly in the final minute. In the 70th minute, van Vlijmen shot her penalty corner, but saw it blocked. However, Young was able to secure the rebound and beat the Yale goalkeeper to tie the game and send it into overtime. This occasion marks the second time this season Harvard has forced overtime on a last minute goal, the first coming in its matchup with then No. 13 Stanford on September 4.
In overtime, the Crimson continued with its relentless attack. Five minutes into overtime, van Vlijmen fired a shot, but once again saw it blocked. This time however, freshman midfielder Tessel Huibregtsen corralled the rebound and scored the winning goal. The goal was Huibregtsen’s first of her collegiate career. With the result, Harvard has now won its last ten Ivy league games dating back to the 2015 season. Additionally, the Crimson has won five straight against Yale.
“We were really happy with the result”, Startup said. “It’s a great way to start off Ivies. We conceded the first goal against Yale and Lafayette, but we were resilient and we kept playing out game without getting phased. Being able to come back, even so late in the game, gives us a lot of positives to take away”.
Following this weekend’s contests, Harvard returns to action on Wednesday, when it travels to Holy Cross. The team then returns home to face off against Penn at home on Saturday.
—Staff writer Sean B. Chanicka can be reached at email@example.com.