The Crimson is unbeaten in its last 11 outings (Gil Talbot).
CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – Earning its 16th berth in program history to the big dance after capturing the Ivy League crown, Harvard women's soccer will travel to No. 22 Rutgers for the first round of the 2016 NCAA Tournament on Saturday, Nov. 12 at Yurkick Field. Kickoff is set for 5 p.m., and will be broadcast live and for free on the Big Ten Network.
The Big Dance
Harvard advanced to the NCAA Tournament for the 16th time in program history, and will face a Big Ten team for the first time in the big dance. Harvard last made the tournament in 2014, advancing to the second round after a 6-0 dismantling of Central Connecticut State. The Crimson has advanced to the national quarterfinals three times, most recently in 2000, and has won nine NCAA Tournament matchups in program history.
Player of the Year
Senior Margaret Purce was crowned the Ivy League Offensive Player of the Year after leading the league with 12 goals and 28 points this season. Purce tallied an Ivy-best four goals against conference opponents, and tied with classmate Rachel Garcia for the league lead in points (9) in Ivy contests. Purce scored in 10 of 16 games in the regular season, and tallied four games with at least three points. She is just the second student-athlete in program history to have won the award twice, joining Emily Stauffer '98-99, and the fifth in Ivy history to accomplish the feat.
Coach of the Year
In his first season at the helm, Chris Hamblin has been named the Ivy League Coach of the Year. Hamblin led the Crimson to a 10-3-3 record, including an unbeaten 5-0-2 mark in the Ivy League. The honor marks the second-straight year the award has gone to a first-year head coach, and the second time in the three-year history of the award that it goes to Harvard. Harvard ended the regular season with an 11-game unbeaten streak intact,
In addition to earning Offensive Player and Coach of the Year from the league office, six Crimson student-athletes earned All-Ivy honors. Purce joined a select group of four-time first teamers, while senior Carly Rotatori and junior Dani Stollar were also named to the first team. Seniors Rachel Garcia and Bailey Gary were rewarded with second team accolades, while senior Lizzie Durack was hailed honorable mention.
Harvard captured its third Ivy League title in four years, topping Columbia in a double-overtime thriller, 2-1, thanks to a golden goal from Rachel Garcia. The Crimson topped second-place Brown by three points, 17-14, as Harvard posted an unbeaten conference record for the sixth time.
Last Time Out
Ending in jubilation after a golden-goal finish, Harvard captured the Ivy League title with a 2-1 victory over Columbia in double overtime Nov. 5. The win secured an unbeaten season during conference play for the Crimson, which finished at 5-0-2 against Ancient Eight foes. The Ivy title was the Crimson's third in the past four seasons.
Seniors Rachel Garcia and Margaret Purce found the back of the net for the Crimson (10-3-3, 5-0-2 Ivy), their sixth and 12th of the season, respectively. Garcia also earned an assist for setting up Purce's goal, along with senior Bailey Gary, while senior Joan Fleischman played the ball to Garcia for the game-winning strike. In goal, senior Lizzie Durack made four saves for her eighth win of the season.
When the Crimson takes the field, it will have been 63 days since the last Crimson loss, with Harvard winning five straight games from Sept. 11-Oct. 1, notching a trio of ties Oct. 8-15, and capping the regular season with three wins in a row. The Crimson holds a goal differential of plus-12 with four shutouts over the 11-game unbeaten stretch.
The Crimson's last unbeaten streak of at least 11 games came from Sept. 13-Nov. 9, 2013, when the Crimson closed the regular season on a 14-game unbeaten streak.
The Class of 2016
Harvard women's soccer will honored its senior class prior to the Columbia game in an on-field ceremony. The group of Lizzie Durack, Joan Fleischman, Rachel Garcia, Margaret Purce, Carly Rotatori, Marissa Segala and Karly Zlatic has helped the Crimson to 41 wins over four years, along with an impressive 22-2-4 mark in the Ivy League (.857).
Player of the Week
Senior Rachel Garcia was named the Ivy League Player of the Week for Oct. 31-Nov. 5. The award was Garcia's third in four weeks, and Harvard's fourth-consecutive player of the week award.
Garcia scored a double-overtime golden goal in the de facto Ivy League championship game against Columbia, sending the Crimson to a 2-1 victory. Also providing an assist in the game, Harvard clinched its third Ivy League title in the last four years, and pushed the team to its 16th NCAA Tournament in program history. Garcia ended the regular season ranked fifth in the Ivy League with 17 points on six goals and five helpers.
Harvard is 10-3-3 in 2016, including a 5-0-2 first-place mark to conclude Ivy League play. Margaret Purce leads the team and the Ivy League with 12 goals and 28 points, while senior Rachel Garcia has pitched in six goals and five helpers. Lizzie Durack has spent the most time in goal, making 37 saves, while Harvard has tallied seven shutouts on the season.
Senior Lizzie Durack finished Ancient Eight action with a league-best 0.40 goals-against average against Ivy opponents. The Sydney, Australia sports a 0.78 goals-against average and .804 save percentage in 13 games this season.
On the National Leaderboard
Senior Margaret Purce is one of the country's most-dangerous goal scorers, and she ranks 17th nationally in goals per game (0.75) with 12 total scores. Additionally, Purce is 12th nationally on the active career goals list, with 42, and she ranks third in the country in shots per game (5.31).
Harvard's opening round opponent, Rutgers, posted a 11-4-6 overall record, en route to a seventh-place regular season finish in the Big Ten at 4-2-5. The Scarlet Knights are led by Madison Tiernan with 9 goals and 24 points, while Alana Jimenez has posted a 0.76 goals-against average on the season. This will be the first meeting between Rutgers and Harvard in program history. Both teams played against three similar opponents this season (Connecticut, Providence, Cornell) with Rutgers tallying a 2-0-1 record, and Harvard going 1-1-1.
Climbing the Ladder
Senior Margaret Purce sits third in program history with 42 goals, recently passing Naomi Miller '99 and Emily Stauffer '98-99 on the list. Goalkeeper Lizzie Durack, meanwhile, is 10th on the all-time career saves list, and will move into sole possession of ninth with two saves.
1. Kelly Landry '85 - 68
2. Sue St. Louis '81-83 – 65
3. Margaret Purce '17 – 42
1. Tracee Whitley '88 – 424
9. Ann Diamond '84 – 138
10. Lizzie Durack '17 - 137
At the Helm
Chris Hamblin was introduced as the Branca Family Head Coach for Harvard Women's Soccer in March. Hamblin was previously an assistant coach at Harvard, where he helped lead the Crimson to three Ivy titles with 13 All-Ivy League first team selections.
Lizzie Durack and Margaret Purce were named to the U-23 national teams for England and the United States, respectively, for the Nordic Cup in June. Durack led her team to a victory in penalty kicks over the United States in the tournament's final contest, but Purce and the Americans won the tournament on goal differential.
Ivy League Digital Network
The Ivy League Digital Network returns for a fourth season as the home for all live streaming and on-demand video content for each of the conference's eight institutions. Broadcast in full HD and featuring a live score bug and play-by-play and color commentary, the Ivy League Digital Network provides fans with unprecedented access to the Ancient Eight.
Multiple subscription options are available to fans, including school-specific and league-wide passes. The #ILDN is also available on Apple TV and Roku. To learn more about the Ivy League Digital Network or to sign-up today, click here.
Home Field Advantage
Since the start of the 2013 season, Harvard boasts a 18-8-6 record in Cambridge. Harvard is 5-1-2 at home in 2016 with four shutouts.
Class of 2020
In May, Chris Hamblin announced six members of the class of 2020: Zoe Aigberomwan-Isibor, Maggie Basta, Kimaya Cole, Kat Hess, Lauren Spohn and Meg Tveit. The group joins the Crimson from four states across the country.
Full release: Women's Soccer Announces Class of 2020
Keep an Eye Out
For the third-straight season, senior Margaret Purce was named to the MAC Hermann Trophy watch list, which is presented annually to the nation's top player. Purce has led the Crimson in scoring during each of her three seasons in Cambridge.
The winner of the Harvard-Rutgers clash will meet the victor of No. 5 Georgetown and St. Francis (PA) in the second round of the NCAA Tournament Nov. 18.