M. Soccer To Kick Off Ivy Season Against Yale
But this weekend the Crimson will have to improve on its previous performances in order to impress an even tougher crowd—the Ivy League.
Harvard (3-2-2) is facing off at Yale (3-3) on Saturday night in the first league contest for either team.
“We will definitely have our hands full and will need a big performance from our players to get a win,” Harvard coach John Kerr said.
And the key to a Crimson victory is offense. In Sunday’s loss to UNC, Harvard was outshot 14-3. But in a dominating 3-0 shutout of Maine, the Crimson attack outshot the Black Bears 14-7.
And to lead the Crimson scorers is a strong core of young talent. This week’s Ivy Rookie of the week Matt Hoff and sophomores Brian Charnock and Anthony Tornaritis are tied atop the points list with seven points each. Hoff has three goals and one assist, while Charnock—this week’s Ivy player of the week—and Tornaritis have two goals and three assists a piece.
This young, talented offense will be looking to exploit a vulnerable Yale defense.
During an early season game against Creighton, the Blue Jays scored three goals on the Bulldogs in a 3:29 stretch late in the first half.
Yale goalie Matt Aleksinas has not been as effective as he was last year. He had a .800 save percentage last year, while this year it has dropped to .682.
Still, after a shaky 1-2 start, the Bulldogs cleaned up their game, and have now won two in a row. The most recent victory came against No. 17 Connecticut in a thrilling 1-0 match, ending UConn’s 20 game home win streak. Yale’s Alex Munn’s provided the winning score off an assist from Andrew Dealy in just the 13th minute of regulation. The Elis managed to ride out the Huskies for the rest of the game despite being outshot 15-7.
Yale will also be looking to exact a bit of revenge against the Crimson after suffering a 2-0 lost at Ohiri Field last season. Then-junior midfielder Ladd Fritz scored in the first five minutes for Harvard, but the offense was unable to provide a substantial threat after that goal, though it out-shot the Bulldogs 9-6.
But Yale made up for the Crimson’s lack of firepower, scoring an own-goal late in the game to seal the deal for Harvard.
This weekend also marks the first Ivy matchups for all eight schools in what should be a hotly contested run this year. Currently, Brown is tied with Harvard at third place with a 4-3 record, but boasts the highest national ranking at No. 15. The only other ranked Ivy foe is No. 25 Dartmouth, which sits atop the Ivy league and shares the league title with Penn.
As it appears now, one of the most competitive games to take place this weekend will be between the Bears and Columbia, which is second in the Ivies. Still, at this point in the season, it is incredibly difficult to predict who will end up coming out on top come November.
“Ultimately, the road to the Ivy Championship and beyond will require competitiveness and consistency,” Yale coach Brian Tompkins said. “The Ivy League is as delicately poised as ever and there will be no clear favorite.”
But before Harvard can look to focus on the rest of the league, it’s on to Yale.