W. Soccer Snaps Goal Drought in Win Over Yale

Jessica E. Zbikowski

Senior forward Alisha Moran snapped Harvard’s 239-minute scoring drought with her tally on Saturday against Yale. Though the goal and resulting win were sweet, the Crimson’s shooting percentage remains at a dismal seven percent for the season.

It really never gets old. Beating Yale always feels good. Just ask the Harvard women’s soccer team (3-4-2 , 1-1-0 Ivy), which earned its first Ivy League win of the season against the Bulldogs (5-4-0 , 0-2-0 Ivy) on Saturday at Ohiri Field.

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.

Harvard was called for eight fouls compared to Yale’s three. But the Crimson also outdid the Bulldogs in a better display of offense, outshooting Yale 24-14 on the afternoon.

Yet the one in 24 conversion rate did not improve the outlook on Harvard’s struggling offense as its shooting percentage dropped to just seven percent.

Walker made 12 saves for the Bulldogs while Shields had eight stops.

“Their goalie had a great game,” Shields said. “She kept them in the game.”

Walker may have kept Yale in the game, but the Crimson kept itself in its season. After its loss to Penn last weekend, Harvard has its back to the wall if it hopes to win a share of the Ivy title.

“Every game now, we have to win,” Moran said. “At the very least, we could be co-champion. So we are one step closer to that.”

Junior midfielder Maile Tavepholjalern, a regular starter for the Crimson, was sidelined on Saturday.

“I twisted my ankle at practice yesterday,” Tavepholjalern said.

She expects to return next week when Harvard hosts Cornell.

—Staff writer Carrie H. Petri can be reached at cpetri@fas.harvard.edu.