Hatfield recorded her third shutout of the year with the seven-save performance against Northeastern. (Gil Talbot)
DEDHAM, Mass. – It came down to the wire for crosstown rivals Harvard and Northeastern, but with four minutes remaining in the contest, freshman Marissa Balleza flipped what was the eventual game winner into the cage to give the Crimson field hockey team (6-8, 1-4 Ivy League) a 1-0 win over the Huskies (6-11, 2-2 CAA) on Wednesday night.
The first half progressed slowly, with neither side fully taking advantage of opportunities. Northeastern earned its fair share of penalty corners, but the Crimson defense, and senior backstop Jenn Hatfield, kept things quiet. Noel Painter nearly gave Harvard a late first-half lead with a reverse stick shot just wide of the net with less than a minute to play, but the two sides entered the break with no score.
About 10 minutes into the second, Harvard earned a series of chances, including two by way of penalty corners, but the Huskies stood firm on defense. As time was winding down, Northeastern had a great look to take the game's first lead, but Hatfield's quick foot hindered any chance as the senior kicked away a 1-on-1 opportunity by Kelly Dunn.
Balleza won it for the Crimson with just four minutes remaining on the clock. After getting a nice pass from Kaitlyn Boudah, Balleza went 1-on-1, chipping the ball high and to the right, just past the Huskies' netminder for the score.
Balleza ran her point streak to seven consecutive games for the Crimson, while Hatfield recorded seven saves in the shutout effort, the third of the season for Harvard. The Crimson will return to Jordan Field for the final two home contests of the year this weekend, welcoming in Dartmouth and Vermont, before closing out the season against Columbia on Nov. 10.