As a standout freshman star, Lizzy Nichols has had many a stand-out moment so far this season. Against Brown on Friday, she knotted the game at 1-1 in the 82nd minute with some pinpoint accuracy on a free kick.
Three minutes and six seconds. That is all the overtime Brown needed to finish off the Harvard women’s soccer team Friday night.
Playing at Stevenson Field in Providence, R.I., the Bears (7-3-3, 2-1-1 Ivy) came out firing in the extra frame. They quickly got off three shots before midfielder Jill Mansfield was tripped up in the box and awarded a penalty kick.
Kathryn Moos, the Ivy League’s leading scorer (10 goals, 24 points), had no problem cashing in on the game-winning opportunity and sending the Crimson home with a 2-1 loss.
“It was very frustrating,” said defender and co-captain Laura Odorczyk. “[A penalty kick] is the worst way to end a game.”
Though the final result was not what the players would have liked, Harvard had plenty to be proud of. Facing one of the top teams in the Ivy League, the Crimson (3-9-1, 2-2-0) showed that it is much better than its record indicates.
“We did a lot of things that we had been practicing and said we wanted to do,” Odorczyk said. “I thought our team played really well, it was definitely a battle.”
“Everyone gave 100 percent effort,” freshmen defender Lizzy Nichols added. “It was a tragedy that we lost. We felt like the game was stolen from us.”
Still down a goal with less than ten minutes remaining in the second half, the Crimson finally got a break. Awarded a free kick about 30 yards from the Brown goal, Nichols showed once again how dangerous she is. Her shot, which lofted easily into the far side netting, tied the game at one.
As a defender, Nichols’s first priority is to prevent goals, not score them.
Don’t tell her that, though. She is now the team leader in both points—with seven—and assists—with three.
“Obviously as a player she has stepped up. But as a leader off the field as well,” Odorczyk said. “She is starting to speak up and people really respect what she has to say. When she talks people listen.”
“Since I came to preseason, Coach Walsh has pushed me out of my comfort zone trying to make me into a leader on the team,” Nichols said. “That’s what I have tried to do.”
The Bears got on the board first, scoring just five minutes into the second half. Moos, who was heavily guarded all night, finally shook her defender long enough to receive a pass from Lindsay Cunningham and bury it in the back of the net.
Despite three attempts, the Crimson is still looking for its first overtime victory. The team has now lost twice and tied once. Against Penn State on Sept. 15, it lost in double overtime. Two days later, facing St. Mary’s, it tied after yet another two overtime periods.
The loss on Friday night dropped Harvard back down to an even 2-2-0 in Ivy League play. The Crimson has only three games remaining against Ivy foes, but if it wins all three, it could still be in a position to contend for the Ivy title.