CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – A quick goal by Harvard changed the tone of Friday night's Ivy League field hockey opener vs. Yale early on, and after the Crimson padded that lead with another goal later in the first half Harvard just needed to stay sound defensively to hang on for a 2-0 win. A 14-0 advantage on penalty corners -- including 10-0 in the second half -- helped seal the win for Harvard. Senior goalkeeper Emilie Katz made 10 saves for the Bulldogs.
An early turnover by Yale (4-3, 0-1 Ivy League) in the midfield gave Harvard midfielder Bente van Vlijmen the chance to put the Crimson up 1-0 just 31 seconds into the game. While the Bulldogs were able to regroup, they wound up getting outcornered 4-0 for the half and did not get a shot on goal. The closest call came with less than 15 minutes to go, when junior forward/midfielder Lily Smith drove down the left side and sent in an apparent crossing pass that wound up bouncing past Harvard goalie Libby Manela – but the shot was ruled to have come from outside the circle.
Harvard (3-4, 1-0 Ivy League) extended its lead with another goal by van Vlijmen, this one on the Crimson's fourth corner of the half. That proved to be a sign of things to come in the second, as Harvard's 10-0 corner advantage proved to be too much for Yale to overcome. Manela made her lone save of the night by charging out to stop a breakaway chance for senior forward Danee Fitzgerald with 26:30 to play.
"We struggled to create our own scoring opportunities, and this was the first game where we didn't perform the way we could with opportunities below the 30," said Pam Stuper, Yale's Caroline Ruth Thompson '02 Head Coach of Field Hockey. "Also, we were waiting to tackle too long, which is why we gave up so many corners. To their credit, that is the best Harvard team I have seen in a long time. They looked very good."
Katz kept her team in the game with seven saves in the second half, including a stick save on the Crimson's 14th and final corner of the night. She also made back-to-back saves on shots by forwards Marissa Balleza and Kathleen Young with seven minutes to play.
"She got stronger as the game went along," said Stuper of Katz. "No question, we were able stay within striking distance and have a chance to win the game with her in goal."
Yale returns home to host Stanford Sunday at Noon.
Report by Sam Rubin '95 (firstname.lastname@example.org), Yale Sports Publicity