But in the end, the Harvard men’s soccer team left Fairfield, Conn. last night with the same content and victorious feeling as it experienced just two days earlier.
The Crimson (8-4-0, 2-1-0 Ivy) once again found the back of the net in the second overtime frame and beat No. 19 Fairfield on the road by a 2-1 final. While Saturday’s winner came with minutes to spare before a draw would have been called, the goal from sophomore Mike Fucito yesterday came 43 seconds before the end of overtime.
“We were the better team, we pressured them the whole game,” Fucito said. “So it was just a matter of time before things were going to go our way.”
In the final five minutes of the game, the Crimson offense was peppering the Stags’ goaltender, Jon Paul Francini, with shots, registering four during that stretch. Francini was the regining MAAC Defensive Player of the Week and boasted a 0.97 goals against average before yesterday.
Fucito—who had three other shots on goal over the course of the game last night—finally broke through for the game winner when he beat Francini for his first game-winner of the year.
A similar must-score situation arose for the Crimson late in the second half when Harvard found itself down a goal with under ten minutes to play. But just as it found the hole in overtime for the win, it found a gap in regulation to even the score.
In the 85th minute of play, one freshman found another as Kwaku Nyamekye recieved the ball from Andre Akpan and netted his third goal of the year. As he proced against the Stags last night, Nyamekye has been an effective starter on the Crimson’s defense and late game finisher on the offense all season for Harvard.
“At that point, we pushed Kwaku up because of his size and his pace,” sophomore John Stamatis said. “When they scored first there was not much time left and we were in desperation mode.”
“He’s just a beast” added Fucito about Nyamekye.
Over the course of the entire game, Harvard managed 17 shots on net to Fairfield’s 11. The Crimson especially shut down the Stags offense after giving up a goal in the 68th minute of play.
“I think that they whole game we had been playing good soccer and making them work and we really tired them out,” Stamatis said. “We had the legs at the end of the game. The ploy is to keep pressure and not let them have much breathing room.”
Another sign of Harvard’s offensive dominance was the lopsided ratio of corner kicks—which the Crimson led Fairfield 14 to 5.
Aside from the one blemish on his record, junior Adam Hahn had an otherwise steady night in goal by turning aside six shots from the Stags.
The lone Fairfield goal was scored by Mike Troy on a free kick from just under 20 yards out.
By beating the Stags in Fairfield, the Crimson ended the Stags’ 13-game unbeaten streak on its own turf. Conversely, Harvard remains perfect—3-0-0—in overtime contests this season.
—Staff writer Abigail M. Baird can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
—Staff writer Gabriel M. Velez can be reached at email@example.com.
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