Harvard starts the year with a pair of home games over Labor Day weekend (photo courtesy Gil Talbot).
CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – The Harvard field hockey team opens up the 2012 regular season, its first under head coach Tjerk van Herwaarden, with a pair of matchups at Jordan Field. The Crimson faces Holy Cross in the season opener Saturday at 1 p.m., before taking on Sacred Heart Monday at 2 p.m.
The Crimson has high hopes for a successful 2012 campaign after returning eight starters and 15 letterwinners from the 2011 squad that finished 8-9 overall and 3-4 in the Ivy League. Last year's team leader in goals (8) and points (20), Noel Painter, highlights the Harvard returners. Painter also tied for the team lead in assists with four, along with Carly Dickson '12 and sophomore Caitlin Rea.
In The Cage
The Crimson returns three-year starter Cynthia Tassopoulos for the 2012 season. The senior earned her second All-Ivy honorable mention award last season to go along with a second team selection as a sophomore. Tassopoulos logged 1180:29 minutes in goal a year ago and allowed 2.19 goals per game, while making 154 saves.
Six freshmen dot the 2012 Harvard field hockey roster, hailing from two countries and four states. Goalie Issy Davies made the longest trek, coming from Worcester, England.
On the Sideline
Tjerk van Herwaarden, who won five national championships in seven seasons on the coaching staff at Maryland, takes over as head coach at Harvard in 2012. As associate head coach, van Herwaarden helped the Terrapins win the NCAA title last season, following up championships in 2005, '06, '08 and '10. He joined the staff as an assistant coach in 2005 and was named the team's technical director/coach in 2007. Van Herwaarden hired Kaitlyn Perrelle, a 2010 graduate of Princeton, to assist the Crimson along with Julie Munson, who is in her third year with the squad.
Harvard leads the all-time series against Holy Cross, 12-1. The Crimson topped the Crusaders, 4-0, on Sept. 2 last season. This will be the first meeting between Harvard and Sacred Heart.
The Crimson is 25-11-2 all-time in season openers, including four straight victories. Harvard has started each of the last four seasons with wins over Holy Cross while outscoring the Crusaders, 15-2.
Noel Painter ranks sixth in the Harvard record book with 0.47 goals per game and 1.18 points per game. Sarah Mleczko '79 is the all-time leader in both catagories with .76 goals and 1.62 points per contest. Cynthia Tassopoulos enters 2012 fourth in career saves with 420. She needs 15 saves to move into third place (Anya Cowan '00, 434 saves) on the all-time list.
Before the season, head coach Tjerk van Herwaarden shared his thoughts about the upcoming campaign.
About Holy Cross
The Crusaders, which were 1-17 in 2011, opened 2012 with a 1-0 home loss to Quinnipiac Aug. 24. Holy Cross allowed a first-half goal off of a penalty corner that proved to be the lone score of the game. Sophomore Kat Matchett took the loss in goal while making five saves. The Crusaders put six shots on target, including two from junior Kelly Burke.
About Sacred Heart
The Pioneers are off to a 1-1 start with a win over Towson (3-1) and a loss to Connecticut (8-0). Redshirt-senior Kate Boyd scored a pair of goals in the season opener and sophomore Sarah Bergman added two assists. Bergman's sister, Liz, a redshirt freshman, had the other tally in Sacred Hearts win over Towson. The Pioneers will battle Holy Cross Sunday before traveling to Cambridge on Monday.
The Crimson has a pair of games next weekend, as it travels to Providence Sept. 8 and hosts No. 17 Boston College Sept. 9.