No. 14 Field Hockey Hosts No. 9 Princeton in Pivotal Ivy Contest

Harvard and Princeton will meet on Saturday with the top spot in the Ivy League on the line. (Gil Talbot)
Harvard and Princeton will meet on Saturday with the top spot in the Ivy League on the line. (Gil Talbot)

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. -- No. 14 Harvard field hockey (10-3, 4-0 Ivy League) hosts No. 9 Princeton (10-4, 4-0 Ivy League) in a matchup of the top two teams in the Ivy League on Saturday (Oct. 26) at 12 p.m. (ESPN+). Harvard has won its last 13 regular season Ivy League contests dating back to 2017, and has won two of the last three Ivy League titles (2016, 2018).

Harvard has won nine of its last ten games, including wins against Brown (W, 9-1) and UMass-Lowell (W, 4-0), and Cornell (W, 2-0) last week. Sophomore goalkeeper Ellie Shahbo was named Ivy League Defensive Player of the Week for the third time this season, recording two shutouts and eight saves combined in the wins against Cornell and UMass-Lowell.

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What to Know 

  • Harvard and Princeton have developed quite a rivalry in recent seasons, with the two teams splitting the last four meetings, each with a lot on the line. Each of the last three regular season meetings have helped determine the Ivy League champion. Harvard won regular season contests at Princeton in 2016 (W, 3-2 OT) and 2018 (W, 3-1), while the Tigers were victorious in 2017 at Harvard (W, 3-0). The two teams last met in the 2018 NCAA Tournament quarterfinal round, with Princeton picking up a 2-1 win on its home field on Nov. 11, 2018. Princeton owns a 39-7-2 mark in the all-time series.
  • Senior forward Bente van Vlijmen and sophomore Rachel Greenwood each lead the team with seven goals on the year, with van Vlijmen recording a team-high 19 points (seven goals, five assists). van Vlijmen (39 goals, 14 assists; 92 points) is third on the Harvard all-time goals and points list. She needs 8 goals to match the school record set by Marissa Ballezza '17 (47), and 18 points to match Ballezza's points record (110).
  • Harvard entered the week leading the Ivy League with a 1.04 goals-against average and is second in the conference with an average of 3.08 goals per game. Ellie Shahbo leads the league and is fourth in the NCAA with a 0.93 goals-against average. Her 789 save percentage is also tops in the Ivy League and eighth in the country.
  • 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.   

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