The Crimson opens the 2014 campaign with home games against Bryant and Holy Cross this weekend. (Photo: Gil Talbot).
CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – The Harvard field hockey team will commence its 2014 season this weekend with a pair of home games at Jordan Field. On Friday, Sept. 5, the Crimson welcomes Bryant to Cambridge for a 6 p.m. matchup, while Holy Cross will visit Sunday, Sept. 7 at 1 p.m.
Free Weekend on Ivy League Digital Network
After an incredibly successful inaugural year that saw over 1,000 events streamed live, The Ivy League Digital Network will kick off its second year broadcast schedule with a free opening weekend.
The free period will run from September 5 through September 7 and will feature season-opening games around the Ivy League in field hockey, women's volleyball, men's and women's soccer and men's water polo. To sign up for your free weekend on The Ivy League Digital Network, click here.
Use the all new Social Stream on GoCrimson.com to stay connected with the Crimson on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube this year. The Social Stream brings the conversation from all three platforms into one convenient location, allowing fans of all Harvard Athletics teams to monitor the action in real time.
The two home games this week are the first of nine contests that the Crimson will play at Jordan Field in 2014. Co-captains Caitlin Rea and Caroline Code lead a talented roster that features 17 returners and five freshmen. Marissa Balleza and Kyla Cordrey return for their sophomore seasons after earning All-Ivy League accolades a season ago. Balleza collected three Ivy League Rookie of the Week honors last season en route to a team-high 28 points, 12 goals and four assists. Cordrey started all 17 games at midfield last season.
Season Opening Success
Since the start of the Harvard field hockey program in 1974, the Crimson is 26-12-2 in season-openers. Harvard is 1-1 under current head coach Tjerk van Herwaaden in season debuts, defeating Holy Cross in 2012, 1-0, while falling to No. 14 Umass, 3-0, last year.
Series History: Bryant
The Crimson and Bulldogs have met five times since 2009 with Harvard holding a 4-1 series advantage. Harvard captured victories in the first four meetings of the series, outscoring Bryant 15-5 along the way. The Bulldogs notched their first win against Harvard last season by a 2-1 score.
About The Bulldogs
Bryant has had a slow start to the season, entering Friday's matchup in Cambridge with a 0-2 mark, falling on the road to Colgate, 2-1, before being shutout at Albany, 3-0, last weekend. Junior Mikayla Fitzmaurice has the Bulldogs lone tally on the season, potting a second half score against Colgate. Senior Megan Hancock has started both games in net, making 18 saves for a save percentage of .783.
Last season, Bryant posted an 11-7 record that included a 7-0 stretch during the month of September. Current senior forward Rosie Bird led the Bulldogs with 31 points and 12 goals, including five game-winners, in 2013. It's a full Ivy League slate for Bryant this weekend, as they face-off against Brown on Saturday, Sept. 6 at noon.
Series History: Holy Cross
Harvard maintains a 14-1 series advantage against the Crusaders dating back to the first meeting in 1987, a 5-3 Crimson victory. The last seven games have fallen in favor of Harvard, with the Crimson blanking the Crusaders on five occasions. Harvard won last season's meeting in Worcester, 4-0.
About the Crusaders
Holy Cross stands at 1-1 entering the weekend, with a visit to UMass-Lowell on the docket Friday before taking on Harvard Sunday afternoon. The Crusaders split a pair of 1-0 decisions last weekend, opening the year with a defeat of La Salle, while dropping their match against Longwood.
Junior midfielder Kaitlyn Murray scored the winning goal for the Crusaders against La Salle in the 48th minute on a penalty stroke. Between the pipes is senior Kat Matchett, posting 10 saves and a .909 save percentage. Junior forward Katy Cronin returns to field for Holy Cross after recording a team-high five goals and 13 points last season.
Harvard's roster features five freshmen, representing three states (Connecticut, Massachusetts and New Hampshire), as well as two Canadian territories (Ontario and British Columbia). Ellie Cookson, Hannah Wellington and Bri Atkins are additions at midfield, Emily Ott can transition between forward and midfield, while Olivia Startup comes aboard as a goalkeeper.
Filling the Stat Sheet
The Crimson returns its top four point scorers from a season ago that accounted for 67 of Harvard's 96 points in 2013. Sophomore Marissa Balleza led all players with 28 points last year, while Elizabeth Jacobson tallied 16, Noel Painter collected 15 and Sarah Finnemore contributed eight.
Between the Pipes
With the graduation of Jenn Hatfield, the Crimson will feature a new student-athlete in goal in 2014. Junior Issy Davies and freshman Olivia Startup will vie for playing time in net. Davies saw action in three games last year, making 11 saves, while Startup joins the Crimson after a stellar high school career at Crofton School House in Vancouver.