W. Soccer Streak Ended by UConn
Spot-Shot Only Goal in 1-0 Husky Win; Crimson Still Unbeaten in Ivy League
It was the best of goals.
It was the worst of goals.
Heck, it was the only goal in the game, but the unfortunate fact is that it wasn't scored by a Harvard player.
The Harvard women's soccer team (3-2-2 overall, 1-0-1 Ivy) fell to the University of Connecticut by a 1-0 score Thursday afternoon at Storrs, Conn.
The Crimson came into the contest off of a successful weekend where it had taken first place, along with Boston College, in the Harvard Invitational.
The Huskies, one of the top teams in the nation, came into the match on an even hotter note, having won nine of their first 11 games.
Of course the Crimson wanted to win the game, but it had to be satisfied that it kept close with yet another top-notch opponent. (Two weeks ago, Harvard had taken number-11 Virginia to overtime before falling, 2-0.)
The Huskies showed why they are a strong team with their ball control and strong defense, but the Crimson was able to keep even with them and put up a double goose-egg on the halftime scoreboard.
UConn outshot Harvard by a 6-1 margin in the opening 45 minutes, but most of the shots were innocuous, and freshman Dana Krein stopped the five that came towards the Crimson goal.
Unfortunately for Krein, the Crimson suffered a defensive breakdown 9:28 into the second half, which ultimately led to the only goal of the game.
Husky midfielder Linda lacobellis split the Crimson defense with a lead pass to forward Ashley Paine, and Paine had clear sailing to the Harvard goal.
Nothing but Krein and the greenery of the field separated Paine from the wide dimensions of the soccer goal.
In other words, the play was like a penalty kick, only that the shooter was coming in on Krein with a full head of steam and could shoot from any point on the field she wished.
The only thing that could have helped Krein was if Paine had duplicated Roberto Baggio's wayward penalty kick in the shoot-out of the World Cup final.
Nonetheless, Krein dove one way and Paine carefully hesitated before lifting her shot from 10 yards out over the fallen goalie and into the lower left corner of the net to give UConn its 1-0 lead.
That's all the Huskies needed to win, as the Crimson could only managed a measly three shots for the entire game, despite the fact that it had to turn its attention to offense for the final 35 minutes.
The UConn defenders stood up to the Harvard forwards, committing 15 fouls during the tilt. But the Huskies were always ready on the set plays that the Crimson had drawn up and thus gave goalie Jill Gelfenbien a light workout.
Despite the loss, Harvard limited the potent offense of a nationally-ranked team to just one goal.
If it keeps up that type of defensive play, it should have no trouble besting up on Pennsylvania tonight in Philadelphia.
However, the Crimson must keep its focus throughout the 90-minute match or else the Quakers could pull off the upset.
Inferior Columbia and Fairfield squads have tied the Crimson despite having been horribly outshot only because they took advantage of a couple of Harvard defensive lapses.