Harvard goaltender Katie Shields posted another shutout in the Crimson’s 0-0 double-overtime tie with Penn on Saturday. Harvard has recorded six shutouts thus far this season, but it has had a difficult time mustering any goals of its own.
When the women’s soccer team hosted Penn in its Ivy opener on Saturday, the scoreless double-overtime game wasn’t the only tie. The Crimson (5-2-1, 0-0-1 Ivy) faced a family tie: freshman midfielder Allison Keeley’s older sister, Penn senior goalie Jessica Keeley.
Jessica, who made the team as a walk-on freshman year, anchored a Penn (4-1-2, 0-0-1) defense that held the Crimson to just one shot on goal and six shots total in 110 minutes.
But being on opposing sides is nothing new to the Keeleys, who attended different high schools.
“We played one other game against each other, and that was a tie too,” the younger Keeley said. “I was hoping for [a goal] this time.”
So was the rest of the Harvard offense, which had several scoring opportunities that just missed their mark.
Perhaps the best opportunity was in the first overtime when sophomore forward Jamie Greenwald broke past the defense. As she prepared for a shot just outside the 18, a Quaker defender caught up to her and cleared the ball, discarding Greenwald on the ground with a surprising no-call from the referee.
It was the first overtime game this season for the Crimson, who seemed to find new energy when the clock reset.
“When we went into overtime, we said, ‘we’re playing to win’,” said junior captain back Laura Odorczyk. “And it seemed to us that Penn was sort of just playing to tie, playing more conservatively.”
The Crimson not only dominated in overtime, but nearly broke the tie in regulation play as well.
In the second half, Greenwald threaded a pass from the left side to freshman forward Erin Wylie. Wylie struck the ball from the top of the 18, but her shot sailed wide of the goal.
Moments later, Greenwald and Wylie teamed up for another scoring attempt. Sophomore midfielder Megan Merritt passed a head ball to Greenwald, who then headed it down to Wylie, making a break past the defenders. But Wylie was unable to get a clean shot off, and the ball again missed its mark.
The Harvard offense has scored just five goals in its eight games this season.
“We’ve been struggling to score,” Odorczyk said. “It just shows us that if we don’t score, we’re not going to win.”
On the other side of the ball, the Crimson defense recorded its sixth shutout of the season and its fourth in a row.
“That’s because we all play defense and stay organized,” Keeley said. “Our coaches stress a lot of everyone getting behind the ball. So it’s not just defenders, it’s everyone, even forwards. And, [goalie captain Katie] Shields is doing a great job. She comes up with great saves every game.”
Shields, who has yet to let a goal in at home, recorded seven saves against Penn.
Her most impressive save was in the first half when Ellen Gregory blasted a shot from well outside the 18 toward the top of the goal. Shields got a hand on the ball and tipped it off the crossbar.
The Harvard defense suffered one casualty in the 16th minute when freshman midfielder Rachael Lau went down with a sprained ankle. Sophomore back Daniel Mirabel stepped in for Lau and later subbed out for freshman back Tyler Press.
Later, senior midfielder Allison Kaveney took over at the position, starting both the second half and both overtimes.
Around the rest of the Ivy League on the opening weekend, Cornell defeated Columbia 1-0, Dartmouth handed Brown a 1-0 defeat, and defending Ivy champion Princeton fell to No. 24 Yale 2-1.
The Crimson has a full week to prepare for its matchup against the Bulldogs in New Haven on Saturday.
—Staff writer Carrie H. Petri can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.