The Harvard men's soccer term has gotten off to a rocky start this season, with is two most recent games resulting in losses to Clemson on Friday and Furman on Sunday.
The team record stands at a poor 1-5 overall, but a respectable 1-1 in the Ivy League, tying it for second in the league.
The squad travelled to Clemson, S.C. for its latest games, where it was invited to the Clemson Invitational Tournament. The tourney featured three teams in addition to Harvard: Loyola, Furman and host Clemson. Each year one or two of the better Ivy League teams is invited to play in the tournament based on perceived strength.
The 3-0 shut-out loss to Clemson, who is considered to be an annual soccer powerhouse, took place in the front of 3,500 fans on the night of the school's homecoming. Clemson scored its first goal with twenty minutes left in the first half, off of a direct kick by one of its all-American players.
"After they scored, we went into halftime with our confidence shaken up, but not shattered," sophomore Will Kohler said. "It was very intimidating to play in front of so many people but we did out best to hang with them."
The Crimson the missed on a break-way opportunity and a few other shot attempts bounced off of the goal past. Clemson's second goal came ten minutes into the second half and was followed by a final goal with a few minutes left to play.
"Offensively we generated opportunities but just couldn't finish up on them," Kohler said. "Clemson is the most highly skilled team we've played so far this season and they slowly broke us down.
"Our offense got tired and they took advantage," he added. "Everyone tried hard but we had a few mental breakdowns that they were able to capitalize on."
The 6-2 rout by Furman which followed was, in the words of Kohler. senior Steve Gaffney and freshman Toure McCluskey, "pretty much a disaster."
The Crimson's two goals came from senior Gaffney and Kohler. Gaffney scored off a diagonal pass from McCluskey to tie the game at 1-1 in the first half. The goal was immediately followed by a controversial penalty kick which was, in Kohler's opinion, the result of bad officiating. Gaffney later assisted with a pass across the box to Kohler, who scored a final inconsequential goal in the final minutes of the game.
"It was one of those games where nothing really goes right for you," sophomore goalie Peter Albers said. "We had a few calls that really hurt us and we got burned on a couple of break aways."
"Fuhrman was in my opinion the worst them we've played this season," Kohler said. "It was a confusing game and the rain made it a sloppy day to play on. We didn't have a winning attitude, especially after coming off the loss from Clemson."
According to Kohler, the Crimson dictated most of the play, but was able to capitalize on only two out of twelve shot opportunities, whereas Furman scored on six out of seven.
"You want to still try to remain positive," Kohler said. "We've learned a lot in those losses that should help us in the future."
The team next faces BU tomorrow at 3 p.m.
"So far we've had a couple of bad breaks but we hope to bounce back," McCluskey said.
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