W. Soccer Can't Fend Off Tigers
The Crimson (0-1) opened fire early as co-captain Caitlin Costello buried the ball in the left side of the net only 3:16 into the match. Junior striker Joey Yenne, last year’s leading scorer and an All-Ivy selection, turned on a defender and unselfishly cut the ball back to Costello, who managed to get a solid left-footed shot past Colorado goalkeeper Megan Loseke.
The Crimson kept up the pressure and it paid off less than four minutes later when Yenne scored her first goal of the season on a powerful header off of a corner kick play. Sophomore Katie Westfall, last year’s Ivy League Rookie of the Year, struck a corner kick towards the far post. Sophomore midfielder Caitlin Fisher headed the ball back into the middle of the field, and Yenne pounced on the open header to give the Crimson an early 2-0 lead.
Harvard dominated for the next 20 minutes with crisp passing through the midfield and some savvy through balls past the flat Colorado College defense. Although they continued to barrage the Tiger goal with shots, the Crimson failed to capitalize on numerous scoring opportunities. Midway through the first half the momentum switched drastically when the Tigers inserted sophomore striker Jessica Reyes. Reyes provided the Tigers with the spark they needed as her creative play up front drew the focus of the Crimson defenders. With Reyes threatening the Crimson backline, the Tigers were able to develop cohesion between the midfielders and forwards.
A miscommunication between junior Crimson goalkeeper Cheryl Gunther and one of her defenders led to the Tigers’ first goal in the 27th minute. Gunther, who broke almost every Harvard record possible for a goalkeeper in her freshman year, collided with her defender as they tried to clear a cross. The ball popped loose to Reyes who calmly buried a bullet past the helpless Gunther, who could only watch from the ground. Gunther had not even touched the ball in the first 25 minutes of the half.
In the second half Reyes picked up where she left off, as she took a through ball and pushed it past Gunther to tie the match at 2-2 in the 48th minute. Less than five minutes later Reyes completed her hat trick with a header off of a corner kick feed from senior forward Ashley Magnuson.
Down 3-2, the Crimson remained calm and started carrying the play as in the early stages of the game. Harvard tied it up in the 64th minute when Costello notched her second goal on a header from about five yards out. Harvard was not done yet, as junior forward Beth Totman beat a defender on the endline and cut the ball back to Yenne who was fouled in the box. Westfall pushed the penalty kick into the right corner to put the Crimson up 4-3. Coming off stress fractures in both of her legs—which sidelined her for the entire season last year—Totman logged a lot of effective minutes up front.
Reyes was not done yet though, as she put the Tigers back on top with a volley from the top of the box with only 1:15 left to send the game into overtime. The first 15-minute overtime period was uneventful until Costello’s chance for a game-winning goal to complete a hat trick of her own was thwarted by the Tiger keeper.
The Tigers seemed satisfied with a tie on the road against the powerful Crimson, until Courtney Kitchen broke free on a feed from Reyes and slid the ball past Gunther for the game-winner with 1:15 left on the clock. Despite the loss, Coach Tim Wheaton remained optimistic about his team after the game.
“I think a lot of the stuff you saw today was just first game stuff,” Wheaton said. “We scored a couple early goals and we felt like we could relax. We might have relaxed a bit too much.”
Costello was quick to praise to the Colorado College team.
“I have to give a lot of respect to them,” Costello said. “We relaxed and they did a great job coming back. This is a disappointing loss, but we’re healthy, we’re ready and we’re excited.”
Wheaton was encouraged by his team’s scoring output and the performance of some of the younger players.
“I think we’ve got the depth to do [well],” Wheaton said. “We’re going to score goals, and you know, the organization in the back, that will come.”