Crimson Readies for NCAA First Round Matchup with No. 2 Seed Boston College

Crimson Readies for NCAA First Round Matchup with No. 2 Seed Boston College

Pictured: The Crimson women's soccer team will face seventh-ranked Boston College Friday afternoon at 4 p.m.
Photo courtesy: David Silverman Photography

Live Statistics
Complete Postseason Media Guide (PDF)
Harvard Wins Ninth Ivy League Title
Baskind Named Ivy League Player of the Week
NCAA Bracket

The Games:
Harvard opens the 2009 NCAA tournament by facing No. 7 Boston College, a two-seed, Friday afternoon at 4 p.m. In the other first-round matchup, Connecticut will face Boston University at 7 p.m. The second-round game will be held Sunday at 1 p.m.

The Coverage: will provide live statistics for this weekend’s NCAA matchups.

How They Got Here:
Harvard won the Ivy League championship, earning the conference’s automatic berth to the NCAA tournament. This is the Crimson’s second straight appearance in the NCAA postseason.

Boston College, a member of the Atlantic Coast Conference, earned an at-large big to the NCAA tournament, as did Connecticut of the Big East Conference.

Boston University won the America East tournament, defeating Binghamton, 4-0, Nov. 7.

Ticket prices for this weekend’s games are $7 for adults and $3 for students and children.

The Matchups:
The Crimson, winner of eight of its last nine games, has reached the NCAA tournament for the second consecutive season after winning its second Ivy League title in as many years. Harvard will face seventh-ranked Boston College, who defeated the Crimson, 4-1, back on Sept. 18 in Newton, Mass. Katherine Sheeleigh netted the lone Crimson goal in the game, while goalkeeper Lauren Mann stopped 12 shots.

Connecticut and Boston University met on Sept. 19, with the Huskies taking a 1-0 overtime decision. Harvard lost at Connecticut, 3-1, Sept. 5, and fell to Boston University, 1-0, on the Fox Soccer Channel on Sept. 20.

Series History:
Harvard and Boston College have met 33 times on the soccer field, with the Crimson owning a 19-10-4 advantage in the all-time series which began in 1977. After winning three straight games from 2000-02, Harvard is 0-3-1 in its last four contests against the Eagles. During the 1999 NCAA tournament, Harvard was upset by Boston College in the opening round, falling to the Eagles by a score of 1-0.

Connecticut has taken six of the last seven games against Harvard, taking a 24-4-1 advantage in the series. Harvard stands at 0-2 in NCAA postseason play against the Huskies, having lost to Connecticut in 2001 and 2004. Even though the Crimson fell at Boston University earlier this season, Harvard boasts a 12-2-3 lead in all-time games against the Terriers.

Harvard in the NCAA Tournament:
The Crimson has now qualified for the NCAA tournament 12 times, the last being in 2008. Harvard owns an 8-10-1 record all-time in the tournament. The Crimson has reached the quarterfinal round three times.

Finishing Strong:
After starting the year with a 1-5-1 record, Harvard has won eight of its last nine games entering posteason play. The Crimson enjoyed a six-game win streak from Sept. 26-Oct. 20, and has won the last two games, defeating Dartmouth and Columbia to clinch the ninth Ivy League title in program history.

Around The Tourney:
Four of Harvard’s 17 opponents this season are among the 64 teams in this year’s NCAA tournament. The Crimson posted a 0-3-1 record against these four opponents, having tied San Diego State, 1-1, to start the season. Harvard dropped its matchups against Boston College, Boston University and Connecticut.

About Harvard:
The Crimson won its ninth Ivy League title after posting a 6-1 conference record, its best conference mark since the 1999 season. Harvard is also trying to reach the 10-win plateau for the third straight season, having won 10 games in 2007 and another 10 in 2008.

Last time out, sophomore Melanie Baskind scored two goals, including the game winner in overtime as Harvard topped Columbia, 2-1, to clinch the outright Ivy League title. Senior Lauren Mann played all 95:08 in goal, making four saves.

With 21 points on eight goals and five assists, junior Katherine Sheeleigh is Harvard’s leading scorer. She also paces the team with four game-winning tallies and has a team-high 69 shots, including 28 on goal. Baskind ranks first on the team with six assists, while standing second with four goals, including two game-winning tallies, and 14 points. Harvard’s over multiple goal scorers are junior Gina Wideroff, sophomore Patricia Yau, senior Lizzy Nichols, freshman Caroline Ablanese and senior Christina Hagner.

Mann has started all 16 games in net and is 9-6-1 with three shutouts. She owns a 1.36 goals-against average and has stopped 59 of 81 shots faced for a .728 save percentage in over 1,450 minutes of action.

Harvard holds a 25-22 advantage against opponents in goals scored, including a 2-0 margin in overtime. The Crimson is outshooting opponents, 237-222, and has 10 more corner kicks, 91-81.

Players to Watch – Boston College:
Victoria DiMartino is the Eagles’ top offensive producer, amassing 14 goals and four assists for 32 points. She also has notched six game-winning tallies to lead the squad. Boston College boasts six other players with double digits in points, including Gina DiMartino (seven goals, six assists), Brooke Knowlton (seven goals, three assists), Kristen Mewis (five goals, six assists), Julia Bouchelle (four goals, six assists), Hannah Cerrone (two goals, nine assists) and Amy Caldwell (three goals, four assists).

Jillian Mastroianni has recorded 11 shutouts, while boasting a 15-3-2 record. She sports a 0.49 goals-against average, while owning a save percentage of .846 (55 of 65). Boston College has outscored teams, 50-10, including 24-4 in the first half. The Eagles have also been dominant in earning corner kicks, 140-55.

Players to Watch – Boston University:
With seven goals and six assists for 20 points, Farrell McClernon is tied with Jessica Luscinski (six goals, eight assists) for the team lead in points. Emily Pallotta (eight goals, three assists) is a close third with 19 points, while Megan McGoldrick has also had the scoring touch, netting five goals and handing out four assists. McClernon has a team-best four game-winning tallies.

Between the pipes, Janie Reilly has seen most of the action, going 13-4 with eight clean sheets and a 0.51 goals-against average. She has allowed only eight goals in more than 1,580 minutes. The Terriers have scored more than three times as many goals as opponents, 43-14, and have a large edge in corner kicks earned, 138-60.

Players to Watch – Connecticut:
The trio of Linda Ruutu (eight goals, four assists), Melissa Busque (six goals, six assists) and Jessica Shufelt (three goals, four assists) lead Connecticut’s scoring attack. Busque and Ruutu have combined for seven of Connecticut’s 10 game-winning tallies, as Ruutu has netted four and Busque has notched three.

Jessica Dulski has five shutouts this season, posting a 9-7-1 overall reecord, while sporting a 1.11 goals-against average. The Huskies have outscored teams by a 31-24 margin, including an 18-9 edge in the first half.

Harvard co-captain Lizzy Nichols is one of 10 finalists for the prestigious Lowe’s Senior CLASS Award for displaying both on-field and off-field excellence. Nichols is a three-time All-Ivy League selection, a double concentrator in history and literature and history of art and architecture and has been named to the Academic All-Ivy League and Academic All-District teams twice. In addition, she has worked with Habitat for Humanity and the Goals4Leaders program.

Success In The Classroom:
Senior co-captain Lizzy Nichols was named to the ESPN The Magazine Academic All-District first team, while junior Katherine Sheeleigh and sophomore Melanie Baskind garnered selections to the ESPN The Magazine Academic All-District third team.

Ivy League Soccer Goes Crimson:
For the first time since 1996, Harvard men’s and women’s soccer have a chance to both capture Ivy League titles. A win by the Crimson men Saturday afternoon against Penn at Ohiri Field would clinch the conference championship. The last time both programs were in the NCAA tournament in the same season was 2008.

When The Game’s On The Line:
Katherine Sheeleigh paces the Crimson with four game-winning tallies. Melanie Baskind stands second with two game winners, while Lizzy Nichols, Taryn Kurcz and Caroline Kutler have netted one apeice.

Crimson Atop the Ivy League:
Katherine Sheeleigh led the Ancient Eight with 59 shots and ranked third with 21 points and fourth with eight goals. Sheeleigh was also second with four game-winning tallies to her credit. Melanie Baskind stood tied for second in the conference with six assists. Lauren Mann was third with 59 saves, while ranking seveng with a 1.36 goals-against average.

Rookie Dominance:
Crimson players have won the three of the last four Ivy League Rookie of the Year awards. Senior Lauren Mann won the award in 2006, junior Katherine Sheeleigh was so honored in 2007 and sophomore Melanie Baskind took home the award last season.

Harvard In The Bay State:
Harvard owns a 6-4-1 record in games played in Massachusetts this season. The Crimson posted a 6-2-1 record at home at Ohiri Field and Cumnock Turf and was 0-2 in road games in the Bay State, playing at Boston College and Boston University during the regular season.