Unbeaten Men's Soccer Rolls On

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Thomas J. Beckford

After two non-conference wins, the No. 11 Harvard men’s soccer team will travel to California for the LMU Invitational.

In a 10-day stretch that began on Sep. 7 and ended yesterday, the No. 11 Harvard men’s soccer team has handed out losses to New England challengers left and right.

The Crimson, which outscored its opponents, 9-3, in that span, improved its undefeated record to 6-0 and climbed two spots in the national rankings.

“I am very proud of them,” head coach John Kerr said. “We have asked a lot of them this past week...and they have come through with flying colors.”

Harvard will rest for a few days before leaving the comforts of its home field to take on Loyola Marymount and the defending national champion, No. 9 UC Santa Barbara, next weekend in California.

HARVARD 2, UMASS 1

With the exception of a late-game hiccup, Harvard put in a solid two-goal effort and got an impressive outing from goaltender Adam Hahn that proved to be enough for the win against Massachusetts yesterday afternoon on Ohiri Field.

Less than 10 minutes had gone by in the second half when sophomore Andre’ Akpan chested in the go-ahead score to lift the Crimson to a 1-0 lead. The unorthodox goal ended a chaotic scramble in front of the Minutemen net that saw co-captain Matt Hoff tip a ball to Akpan, who used his chest to redirect the pass just inside the near post.

After another 10 minutes ran off the clock, Harvard struck again. This time, it was sophomore Brian Grimm who fired the shot heard ’round the field.

His long, low blast from 30 yards out eventually ensured a loss for Massachusetts.

“I don’t think any team is going to be able to keep a clean sheet against us,” Hoff said. “If we can go into the half even, we are going to win the game.”

True to their mascot, the Minutemen did not go down without a fight. In the waning minutes they were able to knock in a goal that robbed the Crimson of the shutout—but not the win.

“It made the last couple of minutes more agonizing then they had to be,” Hahn said.

“I was just thinking, ‘Don’t let them score,’” Hoff added.

HARVARD 2, BU 1

Strong starts to both halves, mixed with a little bit of luck, allowed the Crimson to overcome Boston University, 2-1, on Friday.

In the opening minutes of the first half, Harvard came out strong and forced the Terriers, who had not lost a game to the Crimson in almost a decade, to score on themselves.

A BU defender overpowered a pass to his goalie, sending the ball into the net and giving Harvard the lead.

The Crimson retained the advantage throughout the first half. Then, just two minutes into the second half, Akpan found the net, increasing Harvard’s margin to two goals.

The Crimson’s celebration was short-lived, however.

Minutes later, the Terriers scored off of a free kick that was headed into the net.

While Harvard managed to hold off BU and come out with the win, there were areas in definite need of improvement.

“We’re happy we got the result, but we need to pick it up for Sunday,” Hahn said after Friday’s match. “We need to do a reality check and realize that even though we’re 5-0, we’re not yet playing at the level we need to be playing at.”

Luckily, Harvard could rely on Hahn in goal to step up and make some key saves as the clock wound down.

“It was crucial in the end that [Hahn] was solid, and he did a great job,” Kerr said. “He’s been doing a great job all year.”

—Staff writer Alexandra J. Mihalek can be reached at amihalek@fas.harvard.edu.

—Staff writer Julia R. Senior can be reached at jrsenior@fas.harvard.edu.

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