With two assists Saturday, freshman Ellie Cookson has a team-high six on the year (Photo: Gil Talbot).
CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – For the first time in 38 years, the Harvard field hockey team finds itself at 5-0, after dispatching of Yale, 4-1, Saturday at Jordan Field. Four Crimson student-athletes potted goals, while Ellie Cookson tallied two assists to lead Harvard to the victory and its best start since 1976. At 5-0, the Crimson is also the only undefeated team remaining in the Ancient Eight, following Saturday's contests.
Harvard was in control throughout the game, beginning with a 10-1 shot advantage through the first 35 minutes before finishing with a 19-5 margin. Harvard also held the Bulldogs without a penalty corner in the opening half, while taking five itself.
The lone goal of the opening stanza came in the 18th minute on a one-time play that featured Elizabeth Jacobson sending a pass from the end line directly to the front of the goal where Catriona McDonald slapped it home for her first tally of the season. The Crimson had a great opportunity to double its lead before the intermission, but Noel Painter's attempt from the right side ricocheted off the post.
Sophomore Marissa Balleza was able to give the Crimson its 2-0 lead nine minutes into the second period, launching a strike off a set penalty corner play that beat the Yale goalkeeper. Sarah Finnemore took the penalty corner for the Crimson, with Cookson making a nice pass to Balleza for the goal, her team-high fourth of the year.
Yale closed the gap in the 54th minute, as pressure from Kelsey Nolan resulted in a turnover that she capitalized on by finding the inside of the far post for the unassisted goal.
Harvard made sure to keep its foot on the gas though, and placed two goals in the back of the cage in the final 10 minutes. Kaitlyn Boudah notched goal number two of the year, tapping in a nice end line pass from Cookson to make it a 3-0 lead. The assist was Cookson's team-best sixth of the year. Jacobson put the finishing touches on the victory, as Balleza and Hannah Wellington teamed up for some nifty passing through the center of the offensive zone before finding Jacobson at the penalty line for the goal.
The Crimson will put its unbeaten mark on the line Wednesday, hosting Northeastern at 6 p.m. at Jordan Field.