The No. 9 Princeton field hockey team opened the Ivy League race further behind its 3-1 win at Harvard Saturday afternoon. The victory improved to the Tigers to 9-4 on the year and more importantly to 5-0 in league play, while dropping the Crimson to 5-8, 1-4 Ivy.
Saturday’s win also extended Princeton’s Ivy unbeaten streak to 18, the second-longest winning streak in conference history. The Tigers are only chasing their own record, a 24-game run from Oct. 2007 to Sept. 2011.
Princeton controlled the early tempo and capitalized at the 10:45-minute mark. Teresa Benvenuti picked up a rebound in front of the cage and shot it through Harvard goalkeeper Jenn Hatfield’s legs to set the Tigers up with a 1-0 lead.
When scoring first the Tigers have not lost this season, but en route to extending that streak to 8-0 they had to respond to a Harvard goal five minutes later.
The Crimson only had two shots on frame all afternoon, but decidedly connected in the 16th minute. Marissa Balleza received the ball in the circle and found an open Noel Painter, who finished with a backhanded shot in front of the cage to knot it up 1-1.
Harvard would not have another shot in the first half, as the Tiger defense prevented much serious action in their circle through the remainder of the match.
Before the end of the period Princeton scored again, this time on a swift swing from senior Julia Reinprecht. She gathered the loose ball from distance and sent a high volley shot past Hatfield in the 22nd minute to send the Tigers into halftime up 2-1. Her goal accounted for the game-winner and marked sixth of the season for the back.
Princeton only tightened things up further in the second half, limiting Harvard again to two shots and one on goal over the final 35 minutes.
While the defensive line obstructed nearly every Harvard attempt into its circle, the offense continued to work to add to its lead. After four consecutive shots, freshman Cat Caro was there to finish in the 44th minute. Caro stole the ball in the middle and sent in her third goal of the year from the left side.
The Tigers finished with a 21-4 shot advantage, including a 13-2 on goal differential.
Princeton will close out its five-game road swing with a visit to No. 15 Albany (13-3, 2-1 America East) on Sunday at 2 p.m.