W. Soccer Can’t Find Net After Stacking its Backs
The result knocked the Crimson (3-4-1, 1-0-1 Ivy) and Penn (5-4-1, 1-0-1) behind No. 18 Princeton (9-0, 3-0) in the Ivy title race.
The Crimson’s tie was an improvement over its defeat against the Quakers last season, but the scoreless result confirmed worries about the team’s inability to finish in front of the net. While Harvard challenged an impressive Penn defense with seven shots on goal through 110 minutes of play, junior goalkeeper Vanessa Scotto repeatedly denied the Crimson’s attackers.
“Our offense has been in a funk, and we haven’t scored as many goals as we would like in the beginning of the season,”
said senior forward Joey Yenne, who was kept shotless in Saturday’s tie.
The Crimson has scored only five goals in its last six games, and the team is still searching for its rhythm on the offensive end of the pitch.
One bright spot in the Crimson’s lackluster attack was senior striker Beth Totman, who headed in the lone goal in last weekend’s 1-0 win over Brown and was named Ivy League Player of the week last Monday. Totman provided the biggest test for Penn’s goalkeeper, putting five shots on target. With just two minutes remaining in the second half, she nearly put the game away, sneaking around the Quaker defense to strike a solid header off a corner kick.
The Crimson had come close to finding the back of the net earlier in the second half, when Yenne was barely beat to the ball by Penn’s goalkeeper during a scramble in front of the net.
With the Crimson attack firing blanks, Harvard was saved by its defense, which held the Quakers to just two shots on net.
The Crimson played four in the back instead of three, and let right outside-back sophomore Lauren Cozzolino roam with Katy Cross, who led the Quakers to their first win against Harvard last season with a hat-trick. Cross, the league’s leading scorer last season and this season so far, was limited to just one shot by Cozzolino.
Junior back Caitlin Fisher felt the team improved as the game went along.
“We came out shaky and nervous in the first half, but we turned it on in the second half,” she said.
Goalkeeping duty was split between freshmen Katie Shields and Maja Augustdottir, both of whom recorded one save.
Harvard has not recorded a scoreless tie since 1995, when a contest with Cornell ended in a 0-0 draw. Saturday’s game was the team’s longest since last year’s NCAA first-round match against Hartford, which remained scoreless through four overtimes before Totman scored the game-winner.
The Crimson faces local rival Boston College (7-5-1) on Ohiri Field at 3 p.m. on Wednesday. The Eagles, ranked second in the Northeast region, are on a two-game winning streak after defeating Syracuse this past weekend.
—Contributing writer Chris Schoenberger can be reached at email@example.com.