No. 9 Penn State Field Hockey’s Season Ends After 6-1 Loss To No. 6 Harvard In NCAA Tournament
No. 9 Penn State field hockey (12-6, 6-3 Big Ten) wrapped up its season with a 6-1 loss to No. 6 Harvard (17-1, 7-0 Ivy League) in the first round of the 2018 NCAA tournament on Friday.
The Nittany Lions had 13 corners and 19 shots compared to the eight corners and 17 shots Harvard had. Anna Simon scored for the Nittany Lions, but it wasn’t enough to advance in the tournament for the second consecutive season.
Jenny Rizzo made six saves in the loss.
How It Happened
Penn State was doomed by a slow start on Friday afternoon. Harvard’s Kathleen Young dribbled down the sideline after a turnover by the Nittany Lions. She passed the ball to Maddie Earle, who beat Jenny Rizzo and made the score 1-0 just over 12 minutes into the game. 20 seconds later, Tessel Huibregtsen sent a beautiful pass to Bente van Vlijmen, who scored to double the Crimson’s lead.
Harvard continued to pour it on after Rachel Greenwood drove the ball to the back of the net with just over 18 minutes to play in the first half, but Penn State finally came up with a response. Moira Putsch’s corner found Aurelia Meijer, and she set up an Anna Simon shot that found the back of the net. Simon’s team-leading 13th goal of the year cut Penn State’s deficit to 3-1 with 16:17 to play.
Penn State had life, but it couldn’t use the momentum from Simon’s goal to mount any sort of a comeback. The first half ended with Char Morett-Curtiss’ squad trailing by two goals. Harvard outshot the Nittany Lions 11-9 throughout the first 35 minutes of the game.
The second half wasn’t much better for Penn State. Huibregtsen dribbled along the right side of the circle, caught Rizzo off guard, and sent the ball past her into the back of the net. Four minutes later, Olivia Hoover bounced the ball over a defenders stick and took a slap shot to extend the Harvard lead to 5-1 with over 27 minutes remaining in the game.
Harvard’s Kathleen Young found another opportunity to raise the lead. Unassisted, she caught the rebound and did a pull around Rizzo to send the ball into the back of the net and end the game at 6-1.
- Penn State’s season is over, and with that, a stellar senior class will depart Happy Valley. The class included starting goalie Jenny Rizzo, attacker Moira Putsch, who was named a first-team All Big Ten player twice in her career, Aurelia Meijer, one of the team’s most consistent attackers throughout her career, and Cori Conley, a rock on defense for the team.
- One bright spot for the future is freshman defender Anna Simon. The German led Char Morett-Curtiss’ squad with 13 goals this season, and she’ll be back next season with experience under her belt.
- Penn State was eliminated in the first round of the NCAA tournament for the second time in three seasons on Friday. The team still has not won a NCAA title.
[Editor’s Note]: A previous version of this post stated that Penn State field hockey had never won a national title. The Nittany Lion previously won two AIAW titles in the 80s.
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