Joey Yenne ’03 led the 2002 Harvard women’s soccer team with six goals. Beth Totman ’03 tied for second with five. Without them, this year’s squad wasn’t quite sure who would provide its offensive firepower.
In yesterday’s home opener, with Yenne in attendance, juniors Alisha Moran and Emily Colvin took the first step toward answering that question. Moran scored twice and Colvin, making her first-ever start for the Crimson, tallied once as Harvard (1-1) came from behind to take a 3-1 win over Vermont at Ohiri Field.
After the Catamounts (2-1-1) opened the scoring in the fourth minute, senior midfielder Katie Westfall—who matched Totman with five goals last season—beat a defender with a stepover and slipped the ball to Colvin behind the defense. Colvin slid and slotted it under the Vermont keeper for the first goal of her career.
Seven minutes later, Moran gave the Crimson the lead. Freshman Brittany Meeks poked the ball away from a Catamount defender and to freshman midfielder Rebecca Mildrew, who crossed it. Moran’s shot was cleared off the line by a defender, but she followed it and put in the rebound in the 29th minute.
Moran closed out the scoring in the 68th minute, breaking by her defender to head in a pinpoint cross from senior striker Alisa Sato.
“Alisha Moran, I think, has taken the biggest jump in terms of [going from] being a good, solid player to one of the kids who just has to be on the field,” Harvard coach Tim Wheaton said.
The Crimson nearly equalized several times before Colvin finally broke through.
“We created a whole bunch of chances. I have no idea what the statistics are in the book, but we had the ball and had lots of shots [32, 15 of them on goal],” Wheaton said. “I’d like to finish a little better, but for our second game of the year I was really pleased.”
In the ninth minute, Westfall received the ball from sophomore midfielder Maile Tavepholjalern and demonstrated her great vision by playing it through to Colvin, who blasted a shot off the crossbar.
Tavepholjalern’s play led to another opportunity four minutes later, as she passed to Colvin, who crossed the ball, but a Vermont defender recovered just in time to stuff sophomore midfielder Allison Kaveney.
Harvard then capitalized on the Catamounts’ difficulties in playing the ball out of their defensive third to create two more scoring chances.
Captain Katie Hodel jumped on a weak clear, but volleyed it just wide.
Then, in the 15th minute, Westfall hustled to pressure a Vermont back and win the ball. The Catamount keeper couldn’t handle Kaveney’s cross, but Sato was unable to poke in the loose ball on one of her game-high five shots.
Two minutes after Moran’s game-winner, she nearly had another tally, but the Vermont goalie just got her fingertips to Moran’s shot off a Westfall pass.
The Catamounts had a chance to tie the game in the final minute of the first half when they broke out of their own end and caught the Crimson defense in disarray, but Hodel intelligently pulled down the Vermont attacker, allowing Harvard time to regroup. The Crimson successfully defended the ensuing free kick, and the half ended uneventfully.
Harvard didn’t relax in the second half, as Westfall one-touched a Moran cross and nearly snuck it by the keeper just after halftime.
Sophomore forward Ayo Adigun then put a shot off the crossbar in the 52nd minute before re-aggravating an ankle injury three minutes later, ending her day.
Moran and Westfall combined again in the 58th minute, with Moran sending Westfall through, but the senior’s shot hit the post.
During one stretch just before Moran’s second goal, Harvard had four consecutive corners.
Penn State 2, Harvard 1
The Crimson opened its season on Friday with a 2-1 loss to No. 13 Penn State. The Nittany Lions (2-1) took an early lead with goals in the 19th and 21st minutes. Harvard responded just 76 seconds later, as sophomore back Liza Barber converted the rebound after Hodel’s shot came off the crossbar, but that was all the scoring the Crimson could muster against a team that fell to eventual champion Portland in last year’s national semifinals.
“It wasn’t a weak loss,” Moran said. “It was definitely a solid loss to a top team.”
—Staff writer Alan G. Ginsberg can be reached at email@example.com.