The Crimson held on to a 1-0 advantage off senior forward Alisha Moran’s score in the first half to take the win.
In the 31st minute, co-captain back Liza Barber sent the ball to Moran at the top of the box. Moran weaved around the last defender and blasted a shot into the upper right part of the net before goalkeeper Sarah Walker could make a play on it.
Moran’s tally marked the end of an offensive drought over a cumulative 239 minutes of play against four different teams.
“We put a big one away early,” said junior goalkeeper Katie Shields.
The celebration afterwards was reminiscent of the U.S. women’s soccer team celebration after its defeat of China in the final of the 1999 Women’s World Cup. In Brandi Chastain form, the women’s hockey team in the stands tore off their shirts to reveal black sports bras.
The hockey team was at the heart of one of Harvard’s biggest fan showings, estimated at over 750 spectators.
“It was great to see such a big crowd,” said junior forward Sara Sedgwick.
But the celebration was nearly cut short when, about 90 seconds after Moran’s tally, Yale had a chance to strike back. Midfielder Laurel Karnes took the ball inside the 18 with a one-on-one chance against Shields. But Shields came off the line and forced Karnes’s shot left.
“It got us back into it,” Moran said. “We had a reality check.”
Earlier in the first half, the Crimson created another scoring opportunity when sophomore midfielder Katie Johnston took the ball down the field, but her shot was deflected wide.
She took the corner kick and set it right in front of the net, where Barber headed the ball for what looked like a goal. Walker was out of the play, but Yale defender April Siuda stepped in at the last minute and headed the ball out.
Johnston was a thorn in the Bulldogs’ side all afternoon with 10 shots on goal.
Perhaps her best chance was in the second half when she was tackled by defender Talia DePanfilo and earned a direct free kick. Johnston launched a shot over the wall of defenders and out of Walker’s reach, but it bounced off the woodwork and out of bounds.
The encounter was just one example of a very physical match between the two rivals.
“Every Ivy League game is just a huge grudge match,” Sedgwick said.