No. 16 Field Hockey Opens Ivy Play at Yale, Returns Home to Face UNH

Harvard will open Ivy League play on Saturday at Yale, before returning to Berylson Field on Sunday to host New Hampshire.
Harvard will open Ivy League play on Saturday at Yale, before returning to Berylson Field on Sunday to host New Hampshire.

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – No. 16 Harvard field hockey (3-2) will play back-to-back contests this weekend, opening Ivy League play on the road on Saturday (noon, Sept. 28; ESPN+) at Yale (2-3), before returning home to host New Hampshire (4-3) on Sunday (2 p.m., Sept. 29; ESPN+).

Harvard has won two straight contests, most recently defeating Maine, 4-1, on Sunday thanks to a second-half surge keyed by two goals from senior captain Bente van Vlijman, the Ivy League Offensive Player of the Week.

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Live Stats: at Yale l UNH
Twitter: @HarvardFH

What to Know 

  • Harvard and Yale will meet for the 48th time in field hockey, with the Crimson owning a six-game winning streak in the series, and a 25-15-7 advantage all-time. Last season, Harvard also opened Ivy League play against Yale, defeating the Bulldogs, 6-0 on Sept. 21, 2018, with Olivia Allin recording her first two-goal game for the Crimson.
  • Harvard and New Hampshire will meet for the seventh straight year in non-conference play, and the 39th time overall. UNH owns a 23-14-1 advantage in the series, with Harvard winning the last two meetings. Last season, Harvard opened the year with a 4-1 win at UNH, with Bente van Vlijmen scoring twice to lead the way.
  • Dating back to 2017, Harvard is 9-0 in its last nine Ivy League regular season contests, outscoring its Ancient Eight opponents by a combined score of 44-6 in that span.
  • Harvard leads the Ivy League with a 1.48 goals-against average, allowing two goals or less in four of its first five contests.
  • Harvard finished the 2018 season at 17-2 (7-0 Ivy League), as the team won its fifth Ivy League title, earned its sixth NCAA Tournament bid, and reached the NCAA Quarterfinals for the first time ever. Harvard set school marks for wins (17) and wins in a row (14), and had the highest national ranking (No. 6) since the program's inception in 1974.  
  • The Crimson returns five of its top seven scorers from a season ago, including four-year standout and Longstreth/NFHCA All-American Bente van Vlijmen, the Ivy League Co-Offensive Player of the Year. Harvard also returns the bulk of a strong defensive unit (No. 2 NCAA) - led by junior defender Hannah Pearce and sophomore goalkeeper Ellie Shahbo (both All-Ivy) - that allowed .74 goals per game, with 10 shutouts. Junior Mimi Tarrant and senior Bente van Vlijmen will captain the 2019 team. 

At The Helm
Tjerk van Herwaarden, who won five national championships in seven seasons on the coaching staff at Maryland, took over as head coach at Harvard in 2012, and has quickly led the program to new heights. He enters his eighth season with the Crimson in 2019. In 2018, Harvard field hockey recorded its best season in program history, with van Herwaarden taking home Ivy League Coach of the Year honors, and his staff named the NFHCA Northeast Region Coaching Staff of the Year. The Crimson finished the year at 17-2 (7-0 Ivy League), recording its best season in program history as the Crimson won its fifth Ivy League title, and earned its sixth NCAA Tournament bid, reaching the NCAA Quarterfinals for the first time ever with a 6-1 win over No. 9 Penn State in the first round. Nine individuals earned All-Ivy League honors with a conference-best five players on the All-Ivy First Team.