Sometimes, history has a way of repeating itself. Two years after making its deepest run in the NCAA tournament yet, No. 9 Harvard field hockey has found itself in a similar situation with a bid from the Ivy League and a November weekend plane ticket to some top-ranked school. But the Crimson only punched this ticket after the installation of the Ivy League’s new four-team, post-season tournament — of which it stands as the inaugural champions.
With a dwindling two seconds remaining in the tied game on Saturday, Lara Beekhuis slammed a shot past the Cornell goaltender, securing a dramatic victory for the Harvard Crimson. Thanks to Beekhuis and her buzzer-beater goal against the Big Red, the Harvard field hockey team went undefeated in Ivy League play and had a successful conclusion to their regular season.
With 16 games on the schedule this season, No. 14 Harvard field hockey only has eight battles left. Most recently, it drew the losing straw in a double-overtime quarrel with No. 4 Duke University — its only loss since a one-goal defeat to No. 7 University of Virginia back in early September. Over the first month of the campaign, the Crimson has been building up strength for its imminent Ivy League season.
After a 2-0 start to the season in a pair of matches against the University of Massachusetts and the University of Connecticut, No. 14 Harvard field hockey has begun its quest toward both the Ivy League and NCAA tournaments. However, a few things have changed since Harvard last took to Berylson Field in the spring, including new goalies, a fresh set of competitive first-years, and the Ivy League has changed the rules of its tournament — an impactful change that may work in Harvard’s favor.
Coming into collegiate athletics, an uncomfortable adjustment for many Division I athletes is no longer being in the starting lineup, playing in every game, or racking in the most minutes played. For Bronte-May Brough, a first-year on Harvard’s top-notch field hockey team, it was quite the opposite.
Despite holding an impressive 13-4 record, in which all four losses were against top-15 opponents, Harvard did not receive the ending it had worked for, ending the season without an Ivy League championship and bid to the 2022 NCAA Division I Field Hockey Tournament.
“That spell of five minutes cost us three goals—that will not happen to us again,” said Tjerk van Herwaarden, head coach of No. 15 Harvard field hockey, speaking on the Harvard-Princeton game.
“We’d like to say it's just not a game. Obviously that’s not the case, it's a big game,” remarked Harvard field hockey head coach Tjerk van Herwaarden ahead of the highly anticipated Harvard-Princeton match this Sunday in Princeton, N.J.
With only five games left in the regular season, No. 15 Harvard field hockey is making moves towards another Ivy League championship and NCAA tournament run. The Crimson has toppled two of their Ivy League rivals thus far, Penn and Yale, leaving three schools to go over the next few weeks.
With eight games down and six wins under its belt, No. 15 Harvard field hockey is off to a rocketing start this season. The first four games were against ranked opponents: Miami University (Ohio), University of Connecticut, University of Maryland, and American University, and the team has since opened Ivy play.