Goaltender Libby Manela leads the nation in goals-against at .88 (Mark Manela).
No. 16 Harvard (10-4, 5-0 Ivy) vs.
CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – The No. 16 Harvard field hockey team (10-4, 5-0 Ivy) heads into the homestretch of the 2016 season with a pair of games this week. Berylson Field will host a matchup of ranked opponents Thursday, as No. 12 Boston College (9-7) makes the trip across town for a 6 p.m. start. On Saturday, the Crimson jump back into Ivy League play, visiting Dartmouth (3-10, 0-5 Ivy) at 1 p.m.
Last Time Out
Harvard continued its torrid stretch of success, extending its win streak to a program-record eight games with road victories at then-No. 11 Princeton and Lafayette. Sophomore Kathleen Young scored twice Saturday, including the overtime game-winner 59 seconds into extra time to lead Harvard past Princeton, 3-2, for the first time in 22 years. The next day, senior Marissa Balleza potted two goals as the Crimson blanked the Leopards, 2-0.
Coaches vs. Cancer Pink Game
Thursday's game against the Eagles will serve as Harvard's annual Coaches vs. Cancer game. Members of the team will wear pink warmups and shoe laces during the game, as well as have these items for sale to help raise money for the American Cancer Society.
On The National Scene
Harvard's eight-game win streak has caught the attention of those voting in the national weekly poll, as the Crimson moved into No. 16 in this week's poll. The last time the Crimson was ranked that high was the end of the 2004 season. In 2002, Harvard rose as high as No. 14 and during the 2000 campaign, it was slotted as high as No. 13.
Since breaking the Harvard field hockey record for career points and goals on October 15 versus Cornell, senior Marissa Balleza has continued to add to her impressive marks. She enters this weekend with 47 goals and 109 points. The Crimson will honor her accomplishments before Thursday evening's game against Boston College.
Harvard sophomore goalkeeper Libby Manela has made the most of her time as the starter. The Houston, Texas native is 8-0, starting each game of the Crimson's current streak. She boasts four shutouts during that span, as well as the nation's best goals-against average mark of 0.88. She also leads the Ivy League, and is sixth nationally, in save percentage at .765.
Scouting Boston College
The Eagles have won five of their last six contests, including a 3-2 win at home over then-No. 16 Wake Forest and a 2-1 double-overtime victory at Providence Sunday.
Sophomore Lucy Lytle guides the Boston College offense with 11 goals and 22 points. Senior Brittany Sheenan has tallied 18 points on eight goals and two helpers. Redshirt junior Audra Hampsch has started every game in goal, posting a 1.68 GAA and 0.748 save percentage. She is averaging 5.19 saves per game, ranking second in the ACC.
Boston College has won the last 11 meetings against the Crimson and owns a 12-20-1 advantage in the all-time series. Harvard's last win was a 2-1 triumph on Oct. 22, 2003.
The Big Green has faced a tough stretch, losing its last seven games. Dartmouth will host Holy Cross Wednesday afternoon before its Saturday battle with Harvard. Dartmouth has not won a game since September 16 and has been outscored 33-10 since that date.
Freshman Carmen Braceras leads the Big Green with six goals and 13 points. She is the lone Dartmouth player with more than 10 points. Primary goaltending duties have gone to rookie Emma Plumb, who has a 4.37 GAA and a .750 save percentage. She has racked up 102 saves this year.
Harvard has won the last two games against the Big Green, including a 4-1 win on October 31 last year, but Dartmouth has a 23-15-4 lead in the all-time series.