The Crimson opens the 2014 campaign with USF and Providence this weekend. (Photo: Gil Talbot).
CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – Preparing to lift the lid on its 38th season of play, the defending Ivy League Champion Harvard women's soccer team is set for a pair of nonconference games this weekend. After the University of San Francisco repays the tail end of a home-and-home on Friday, the Crimson heads to Providence, Rhode Island, to take on the Friars on Sunday.
Harvard and USF take to Soldiers Field Soccer Stadium for a 7 p.m. battle, which will be streamed live and for free on the Ivy League Digital Network as a part of a free weekend (details below).
Free Weekend on Ivy League Digital Network
After an incredibly successful inaugural year that saw over 1,000 events streamed live, The Ivy League Digital Network will kick off its second year broadcast schedule with a free opening weekend.
The free period will run from September 5 through September 7 and will feature season-opening games around the Ivy League in field hockey, women's volleyball, men's and women's soccer and men's water polo. To sign up for your free weekend on The Ivy League Digital Network, click here.
Use the all new Social Stream on GoCrimson.com to stay connected with the Crimson on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube this year. The Social Stream brings the conversation from all three platforms into one convenient location, allowing fans of all Harvard Athletics teams to monitor the action in real time.
Guess Who's Back
After a sensational 2013 season, after which the Crimson finished 12-4-2 and a perfect 7-0 in Ivy League play, Harvard returns 20 letterwinners, adding to the mix six highly touted freshmen. Under the direction of Ray Leone, who enters his eighth season at the helm, the Crimson will be led by a tried and true cast. Seniors Meg Casscells-Hamby and Marie Margolius, who both earned All-Ivy nods, return to serve as captains in 2014. Behind them the Crimson also returns All-Ivy standouts seniors Erika Garcia and Cheta Emba, junior Haley Washburn and reigning Ancient Eight Player and Rookie of the Year Margaret Purce.
Purce led the squad in 2013 with 26 points on a team-high 11 goals and four assists. Margolius and sophomore Karly Zlatic added four goals apiece last season to round out the top-five scorers returning to the 2014 club. The Crimson is also set at the keeper position as Emba, Bethany Kanten and Lizzie Durack – who served as England's goalkeeper in the recent 2014 FIFA U-20 Women's World Cup – combine for a fearsome triad. In 10 starts, Emba allowed just one goal last season for a 0.14 GAA, recording 22 saves. In nine appearances (five starts), Kanten earned two wins and recorded 13 saves, while Durack picked up a 5-1-0 record with two shutouts and 28 saves.
A Look at San Francisco (2-1-1, 0-0-0 WCC)
The Dons, hailing from the West Coast Conference, own a 2-1-1 record entering their weekend in Boston. Most recently, USF battled to a tie 1-1 with Portland State and claimed a 3-0 victory over LIU Brooklyn – one of two common opponents this season. Seven Dons have combined for all eight of USF's scores this season, led by Jaciara Mello's two tallies. In the net, Madalyn Schiffel looks to try and stop Harvard's high-powered offense, bringing to the table a 1.01 GAA and 10 saves in four games this year.
A Look at the Friars (1-1-2, 0-0-0 BIG EAST)
Hosting the Crimson on Sunday, Providence comes into the weekend owning a 1-1-2 mark after a recent 2-1 win over UMass last weekend in Amherst. PC and Harvard share five common opponents this season, all regionally based.
On the attack, PC is led by Catherine Zimmerman, who has scored two of the Friar's three goals so far, assisting on the third. Allison Mills has the other goal after connecting on her first and only shot on target this season. In net, the Friars boast Kristen Shea, who has allowed just three goals and recorded 20 saves so far.