The brackets for the 24th annual NCAA Division I Women’s College Cup were released yesterday, and the Harvard women’s soccer team did not capture an at-large bid, ending the season for the Crimson.
Harvard (8-5-3, 2-3-2 Ivy) kept alive its postseason hopes with a 1-0 victory over Columbia last weekend, but yesterday’s announcement of the postseason bracket ended the team’s run. The Crimson also recorded eight wins in 2004, when the team scored an at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament and lost to Connecticut in the first round, 2-1.
“I’m always the biggest pessimist,” said co-captain goalie Katie Shields after Saturday’s victory. “Last year, we had a very tough schedule and a very tough preseason schedule. This year, we tied some games we probably should not have tied. I do think we’ll be talked about and considered. You never know what’s going to happen. Crazy things always happen with the tournament.”
Harvard fell just short of the postseason this year despite featuring one of the top defenses in the nation. Shields set a school record with 11 shutouts, placing the Crimson fifth in the nation in shutout percentage. Harvard allowed just eight goals on the season—best in the Ivy League.
Representing the Ancient Eight in the College Cup will be Yale and No. 25 Dartmouth. The Bulldogs defeated the Crimson 2-1 in overtime back on Oct. 1, while the Big Green was victorious on Ohiri Field on Oct. 29 by a score of 1-0. Yale will face Central Connecticut State in the first round, while Dartmouth drew No. 13 Boston College.
With their season over, the Harvard players must turn their sights on next year and begin preparing to make another run at the postseason. But the run is over for the seniors on the team, and the Crimson must prepare for life without the Class of ’06. The most noteworthy hole will be in goal, where Shields—along with both of her primary backups, Maja Agustsdottir and Julia James—will graduate. Freshman Maggie Robinson is the only other goalie currently on the roster.
Harvard will also say farewell to forward Allison Kaveney, midfielder Maile Tavepholjalern, and back Sara Sedgwick.
“We’re really going to miss Sedge and Shields in goal,” said co-captain Laura Odorczyk, the lone junior on this year’s roster. “They were so great for us this year. We couldn’t have even come close to doing this without them. You know that they’re back there and they’re going to be playing their hardest. All of our seniors have been great this entire season. We wish we could have done better for them.”
The tournament kicks off on Nov. 11, and the championships will be played on Dec. 2 and 4 at Aggie Soccer Stadium in College Station, Texas.
—Staff writer Jonathan P. Hay can be reached at email@example.com.