Sophie van Weede and the Crimson go for their sixth win in a row Saturday (Gil Talbot).
CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – The Harvard field hockey team (7-4, 3-0 Ivy) carries a five-game win streak into Saturday's showdown at Berylson Family Field Hockey Field against Cornell (6-6, 1-2 Ivy). Game time is slated for 12 p.m. and will be broadcast live on the Ivy League Digital Network.
Last Time Out
Sophomore Libby Manela made five saves in goal and senior Marissa Balleza scored her eighth goal of the season, lifting Harvard to a 1-0 victory at Brown last Saturday. Balleza's goal came in the 13th minute of the game when she converted on a feed from Kathleen Young.
Where We Stand
With each Ivy League team having played three conference games to date, only two remain unbeaten, Harvard and No. 11 Princeton. The Crimson and Tigers are set to meet October 22 in New Jersey. Harvard's lone game between now and then is Saturday's matchup with the Big Red, while Princeton will host Brown Saturday and Towson (non-league) on Sunday. Brown and Penn sit tied for third in the conference at 2-1.
Just Keep Winning
Harvard's current five-game win streak matches the 2014 streak as the longest in program history since 1990. Near the end of the that season, the Crimson rattled off six-straight wins, a mark Harvard could match with a triumph over Cornell Saturday. That 1990 streak is tied with a six-game win mark from 1976 as the longest such streaks in Harvard field hockey history.
One of the Best
Senior forward Marissa Balleza is on the cusp of becoming the most prolific scorer in program history. With eight goals this season, Balleza now has 42 in her career, one shy of tying Judy Collins '99 for the most in program history. Balleza is also four points shy of tying Collins for points in a career at 102. She would be just the second Crimson student-athlete to reach the 100-point plateau. Her 11 game-winning tallies is second-most in program lore.
Points – Career
Judy Collins '99 – 102
Marissa Balleza '17 – 98
Awards Rolling In
For the third-consecutive week, a Harvard student-athlete was recognized as the Ivy League Player of the Week. Goalkeeper Libby Manela earned her second such award this past week after her performance at Brown. She also garnered the award September 26, with Balleza taking home the award October 3. Harvard has also collected two Rookie of the Week honors with both of those going to Bente van Vlijmen (Sep. 26, Oct. 3).
Keeping the Opponent at Bay
Since taking over the starting goaltending job against Yale September 23, Libby Manela has guided the Crimson to five straight wins, shutting out three opponents along the way. Her 0.96 goals-against average ranks third nationally, as does her .786 save percentage.
The Big Red enter Saturday's contest with an overall mark of 6-6 and is tied for fifth in the Ancient Eight standings with a 1-2 mark. In its last Ivy game, Cornell topped Yale, 2-1, at home, but was trounced the next day by No. 2 Syracuse, 5-0.
Defense and goaltending have been a strength for Cornell this season, as Kelly Johnson's GAA of 1.69 is 20th in NCAA Division I, while her .712 save percentage is 30th. Junior Katie Carlson has led the Big Red offense with seven goals and 16 points. Classmate Krysten Mayers is the only other player with double-digit points (14) on four goals and a team-best six helpers.
Harvard sports a 25-13-4 record over Cornell in the all-time series, dating back to 1976. Cornell took last season's meeting, 1-0, with Mayers scoring in the 47th minute.
Six freshmen joined the Crimson this fall, bringing the roster tally to 24 student-athletes. Four different states, as well as New Zealand and The Netherlands are represented in the class of 2020. The newcomers are Casey Allen, Maddie Earle, Grace Geiger, Olivia Ostrover, Callie Rennyson and Bente van Vlijmen.
Ivy League Digital Network
The Ivy League Digital Network returns for a fourth season as the home for all live streaming and on-demand video content for each of the conference's eight institutions. Broadcast in full HD and featuring a live score bug and play-by-play and color commentary, the Ivy League Digital Network provides fans with unprecedented access to the Ancient Eight.
Multiple subscription options are available to fans, including school-specific and league-wide passes. The ILDN is also available on Apple TV and Roku. To learn more about the Ivy League Digital Network or to sign-up today, click here.
Berlyson Family Field Hockey Field
Harvard field hockey will commence the 2016 season on it new home turf known as Berylson Family Field Hockey Field. Located north of the Beren Tennis Center, Berylson Field was constructed this summer thanks to the generous support of John G. Berylson, MBA '79 and his wife Amy S. Berylson '75, MBA '79.
Head coach Tjerk van Herwaarden welcomed a pair of new assistant coaches to his staff last spring, bringing on Marvin Bam and Katie O'Donnell Bam. The duo joins Harvard after both were members of the coaching staff at Millersville. Each brings a wealth of international experience, as Bam garnered 98 international caps and represented his home country of South Africa in the 2008 Olympics. O'Donnell Bam has been a member of USA Field Hockey for 11 years and played for Team USA at this summer's Olympic Games in Rio, scoring five goals. She played her collegiate career at Maryland where she was a four-time All-American.