No. 9 Harvard field hockey heads to No. 3 Princeton on Saturday for a matchup of the Ivy League's top two teams. (Gil Talbot)
CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – No. 9 Harvard field hockey (12-1, 4-0 Ivy League) takes a program record nine game winning streak into a pivotal Ivy League contest at No. 3 Princeton (11-3, 4-0 Ivy League) on Saturday (12 p.m.). The game will air on ESPN+. Harvard has won 19 of its last 20 Ivy League contests, and is 6-1 in road games this season.
What to Know
· With its current nine-game winning streak, the Crimson have had winning streaks of six games or more in each of the last three seasons. This current streak surpassed the previous program record set in 2016.
· Harvard cracked the top 10 in the Penn Monto/NFHCA Division I Coaches Poll for the first time in program history, coming in at No. 9, its highest national ranking. Harvard is also ranked No. 9 in the NCAA RPI rankings. Harvard has the chance to make more history this year, as it is one win shy of the program wins mark (13) set last year. Harvard currently has the third highest winning percentage (.923) in the nation.
· Harvard's great start has been keyed by fantastic defensive play, and a balanced scoring attack. Harvard's team goals-against average is second in the nation (0.77) and it has seven shutouts this season, also second in the country. Harvard is sixth in the nation in scoring offense (3.62 goals per game), led by juniors Bente van Vlijmen (10 goals, five assists) and Maddie Earle (12 goals, two assists). Earle leads the Ivy League in scoring (26 points) is on pace to threaten the single season program scoring record (42 points) held by Judy Collins '99 and Shelley Maasdorp '05. Earle has been fantastic for the Crimson of late, with 10 goals in her last seven contests.
· Harvard earned its most lopsided win of the season last Saturday, defeating Cornell, 8-0, at Berylson Field. Harvard last scored eight goals in a game on Nov. 9, 2002, an 8-0 win against Columbia. Junior Maddie Earle recorded her second hat trick of the season to lead the Crimson. First-year goalkeeper Ellie Shahbo has won six straight starts (UMass, Yale, Maine, Penn, BU, Cornell), allowing just two goals in that span. Against No. 3 Maryland on Sept. 9, Shahbo made 10 saves against the Terps, the most by a Harvard goalie since 2015 (Issy Davies, 11 saves vs. Maine, 9/13/15).
· Junior Casey Allen has 13 points ( two goals, nine assists) and is sixth in the nation with an average of .67 assists per game. Harvard is seventh in the nation overall with an average of 0.69 assists per game.
· Princeton leads the all-time series against Harvard, 38-6-2, but three of the last four meetings have been one-goal contests, with Harvard winning the 2016 matchup en route to an Ivy League regular season title.
At The Helm
Tjerk van Herwaarden is in his seventh season as the head coach of Harvard field hockey, with a 67-48 mark overall, and a 28-18 record in Ivy play.
Harvard will host No. 11 Boston College next Thursday (Oct. 25) at Berylson Field. The game will air on ESPN+.