Junior forward Katherine Sheeleigh got the team going, and Harvard never stopped in its 4-1 home win over Fairfield Tuesday. The Crimson attacked the goal early and often, out-shooting the Stags 26-7, as Harvard claimed its third consecutive win.
“We wanted to get in a really good rhythm right from the beginning,” senior goalkeeper Lauren Mann said.
The Crimson did exactly that, with Sheeleigh taking the first attempt on goal 32 seconds into the match.
Less than two minutes later, Sheeleigh tried again. After receiving a pass from junior midfielder Kerry Kartsonis, Sheeleigh fired the ball from the middle of the box. Fairfield goalie Kelly Boudreau dropped the ball before catching it again just after it crossed into the net.
“That was fortunate,” Harvard coach Ray Leone said. “But I do think that if you score early, it softens you up a little bit. You’ve got to keep going.”
Fairfield came back into the game thanks to a strong defense that held off three corner kicks in a row. Then, when Stag sophomore Jasmin Corniel headed the ball into the goal off of a corner kick from teammate Nicole Cavallaro to tie the game up, it looked as if the tide had changed.
“We had to fire up the engine again,” Leone said.
Fairfield’s Boudreau could only hold off the Crimson attack for so long, as Harvard notched its second tally just before the end of the first half. Patricia Yau had time in front of goal before passing it back to Sheeleigh, who drilled it in for her fourth goal of the season.
With a one-goal lead, the Crimson refused to look back. In the second half, Harvard dominated the game even more than it had in the first half, out-shooting Fairfield 15-3.
Harvard’s non-stop effort became obvious to the 100 fans in attendance even before junior co-captain Gina Wideroff fired the ball into the top right corner from 25 yards out to put the Crimson up 3-1.
With its largest lead of the season, Leone decided to give playing time to the rest of the Harvard squad
“It was great to get a lot of people in,” he said.
The Crimson squad was already depleted, as Leone made the move to rest co-captain Lizzy Nichols—a finalist for the Lowe’s Senior CLASS Award.
“We’re just resting her,” Leone said. “We’re so proud of her. She’s an amazing captain; she’s really the total package.”
Considering how well Harvard played without Nichols, it was not surprising that the Crimson continued to dominate possession after its substitutes took the field. Fairfield remained unable to generate offense as it watched Harvard’s Patricia Yau score a goal in the 84th minute after taking a pass from freshman Alexandra Conigliaro. Yau had an open net after Conigliaro recovered the ball when a Fairfield defender dove too soon.