But neither seasonal change nor the Bears’ hot goalie seem to bother the Harvard women’s soccer team so much heading into its 1:30 p.m. game Saturday against Brown at Ohiri Field.
But something else does.
“We’re a little sick of the ties,” said junior forward Alisha Moran. “No ties, just wins!”
Indeed, in their last two Ivy League matches, the Harvard women have played 190 minutes of soccer, with little more to show for them than an extra two notches in the oft-ignored third column in the standings. And with only one of its remaining games against a non-Ivy foe, the Crimson (5-3-4, 1-0-2 Ivy) needs to start coming away with some W’s.
“If we win all of our remaining Ivies, then we’ll win [the conference],” said junior forward Emily Colvin. “So that’s a big motivator for us. In the past we haven’t had that control over our Ivy League destiny. If we lose, then we’ll have to depend on other teams to lose. So definitely, we don’t want any more ties.”
But Brown is no pushover.
Although last year’s Bruin squad was a rather mediocre 6-9-2 (1-6-1 Ivy), this year’s team is an improved one, at 7-2-2 (1-2-2 Ivy), and no stranger to the Ivy league’s brand of overtime.
The Bears are coming off the heels of a 1-0 overtime loss to Princeton University, which, as of this week, was ranked 21st in the country by the Adidas/NCSAA poll.
“They’re just always really tough, really physical,” said senior co-captain Katie Hodel.
Brown is led by senior midfielder Michaela Sewall with a team-leading five goals, 12 points and 39 shots.
But the Bears’ strength is not in their offense, to which Sewall’s relatively low goal total can attest. In fact, it’s been the strong play in net by Brown senior Sarah Gervais that’s kept the team afloat. But the Crimson doesn’t plan on changing its offensive plans on her account.
“We’ve been focusing on finishing for the last couple of weeks,” said senior Hodel. “We’re not doing anything special for her but focusing mostly on making sure we get the right shot on goal.”
Harvard can count on Moran’s team leading eight goals and seventeen points, and the continued surge of senior midfielder Katie Westfall, who was named last week’s Ivy Co-Player of the Week after scoring two goals and adding an assist in the teams’ two games against New Hampshire and Cornell.
Individual achievements aside, the Crimson’s key to victory is a good start, Hodel says.
“It’s a matter of coming out strong in the first 20 minutes of the game and scoring a couple of goals, and then going from there,” she said.