No. 6 Harvard field hockey plays No. 3 Princeton tomorrow afternoon for a spot in the final four of the NCAA Tournament.
PRINCETON, N.J. – A record-setting season for No. 6 Harvard field hockey (17-1, 7-0 Ivy League) continues Sunday (Nov. 11) at the NCAA Tournament, as the Ivy League champions will take on familiar rival No. 4 Princeton in the quarterfinals of the NCAA Tournament on Sunday, Nov. 11 at 1 p.m. The game will air on ESPN3.
Harvard is making its sixth trip to the NCAA Tournament after winning its fifth Ivy League title (1990, 1991, 2004, 2016, 2018) with a perfect season in conference play. Harvard has previously played for a national championship in 1991, 2000, 2002, 2004, and 2016.
Harvard won its first ever NCAA Tournament game on Friday, beating No. 9 Penn State, 6-1.
What to Know
· A dream regular season for No. 6 Harvard field hockey has seen several team records fall:
Most wins in a season (17)
Longest winning streak (14)
Highest national ranking (No. 6)
Most hat tricks (4)
Harvard broke the previous program record for wins (13), set in 2017. The Crimson has won 14 games in a row heading into the NCAA Tournament, breaking the previous mark (8), set in 2016. Harvard cracked the top 10 for the first time ever and brings its highest national ranking into the NCAA Tournament. Harvard has four hat tricks this season (Maddie Earle - vs. Maine, vs. Cornell; Natalie Sicher vs. UMass; Bente van Vlijmen vs. Holy Cross),
· Six different scorers for the Crimson helped Harvard earn a 6-1 win over No. 9 Penn State (12-6) in the first round of the NCAA Tournament.Harvard earned its first NCAA Tournament victory in program history with the win, beating Penn State in the first ever meeting between the two programs.
Maddie Earle, Bente van Vlijmen, and Rachel Greenwood scored first half goals, and Tessel Huibregtsen, Olivia Hoover, and Kathleen Young scored in the second half for the Crimson. First-year goalkeeper Ellie Shahbo made seven saves in a game full of offensive chances, with the majority coming from Harvard.
· Harvard has the top defensive unit in the nation, allowing just .65 goals per game, and also has the most shutouts of any team in the country (10). Leading the Crimson has been first-year goalkeeper Ellie Shahbo (10-1-0), who leads the nation with a .56 goals-against average, and is No. 2 in the country with a .813 save percentage. Shahbo has won 10 straight starts (UMass, Yale, Maine, Penn, BU, Cornell, Princeton, Boston College, Dartmouth, Columbia), allowing just three goals in that span. In her first career start, Shahbo made 10 saves against the No. 3 Maryland, the most by a Harvard goalie since 2015 (Issy Davies, 11 saves vs. Maine, 9/13/15).
· Harvard is third in the nation in scoring offense (3.83 goals per game), led by juniors Maddie Earle (16 goals, five assists) and Bente van Vlijmen (13 goals, six assists). Earle leads the Ivy League in scoring (37 points) and is on pace to near 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 14 goals in her last 12 contests. A two-time NFHCA/Longstreth All-American, van Vlijmen is in the midst of her best season with the Crimson, recording points in all but five games as a pivotal piece of Harvard's offense.
· For the second time in the last three seasons (and second time in program history), Harvard finished the regular season with a perfect 7-0 record in Ivy League play. Harvard has won 22 of its last 23 Ivy League contests overall. The Crimson, amazingly, did not allow a goal at Berylson Field all season, outscoring opponents 33-0 in home games with a perfect 8-0 record at home.
The Princeton Series
Earlier this year, Harvard took down No. 3 Princeton at Bedford Field with a 3-1 win over the Tigers on Oct. 20 that helped the Crimson clinch an Ivy title. Harvard has won two of the last three meetings between the two teams. Though Princeton leads the all-time series against Harvard, 38-7-2, but three of the last five meetings have been one-goal contests, with Harvard also winning the 2016 matchup en route to an Ivy League regular season title.
At The Helm
Tjerk van Herwaarden has led the program to heights never reached before in the history of Harvard field hockey. In his seventh season has head coach of the program, he has a 72-48 overall mark with a 31-18 record in Ivy League play. Harvard set several program records with a dominant run through the regular season. Harvard has won the most games (17) and currently has the longest winning streak (14) in program history. Harvard carries the second best winning percentage (.944) and second longest winning streak in the nation into the NCAA Tournament.
The Crimson did not allow a goal at Berylson Field all season, outscoring opponents 33-0 with an 8-0 record on its home field. Over the past three seasons, Harvard is 42-11 with a 20-1 mark in Ivy League play.
Harvard would advance to play the winner of Maryland/UConn on Friday (Nov. 16) in Louisville, Kentucky.