Dina Sinno and the Crimson look to upset No. 9 Princeton on Saturday. (Gil Talbot)
CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – After thoroughly competing with No. 7 Boston College on Wednesday, the Harvard field hockey team returns to Jordan Field for an Ivy League clash with the defending national champions, No. 9 Princeton.
Last Time Out
Harvard didn't have to travel far to end its three-game road trip, paying a visit to No. 7 Boston College on Wednesday. Marissa Balleza gave the Crimson an early lead with her first strike just over two minutes before the first whistle. But BC tallied three goals in the first half to take a 3-1 into the break. Balleza cut the Eagles' lead to 3-2 with a score in the second, but the home team racked up two more goals on sophomore goaltender Issy Davies who was on in relief. The five total goals given up is the highest total the Crimson has yielded this season.
Ivy League Digital Network
The Ivy League Digital Network, which was launched in the summer, will stream the match up against Brown this weekend. Subscribers to the network can watch matches both live and on-demand at their convenience, and will have access to live and on-demand content for all home Harvard athletics events throughout the duration of their subscription.
Youth is Served
The Crimson has been paced on offense by a slew of underclassmen, including leading scorer, freshman Marissa Balleza. After her third two-score performance in the last five games on Wednesday, Balleza has upped her season tally to a team-best 18 points on eight goals and a pair of assists. Freshman Sarah Finnemore has racked up four goals in her debut season, and sophomore Elizabeth Jacobson has nine points to her credit, coming on three goals and three assists.
Though senior netminder Jenn Hatfield has rightfully earned every start for Harvard this year, sophomore Issy Davies has come in for relief duty twice, padding away 11 shots in the cage.
Spreading the Wealth
Though Balleza accounts for eight of the Crimson's scores this season, Harvard has done well in keeping everyone involved on the attack. In total, nine Crimson have scored this season, and 10 have at least one assist.
The ninth-ranked Tigers come to Cambridge 8-4 on the year, and a perfect 4-0 in Ivy League play. All four of Princeton's losses have come at the hands of top-15 opponents, including a 3-1 loss to No. 1 Maryland and a 4-0 loss to No. 3 UConn.
The Tigers are led on offense by Teresa Benvenuti and Allison Evans, who have each accounted for seven goals. Michelle Cesan has 17 points this season, with a team-best seven assists.
Princeton has stepped up defensively as well, limiting its opponents to just 98 total shots (8.17 per contest). The defense plays in front of a pair of goaltenders in Christina Maida and Anya Gersoff. In seven starts, Gersoff has 31 saves to her 11 goals allowed. In her five starts, Maida has 15 saves, while allowing eighth goals.
All-Time Against the Tigers
Princeton leads the all-time series with Harvard, 33-5-2, including a string of 19 in a row. Last season, the Tigers beat the Crimson, 7-0.