As the announcer counted down the final seconds of Tuesday night’s men’s soccer match at Soldiers Field Soccer/Lacrosse Stadium, Harvard sophomore defender Ross Friedman stayed patient. Taking advantage of the situation’s urgency, Friedman faked a shot before taking one more touch on the side of the penalty box and driving the ball across the pitch in front of Colgate’s goal, hoping for a deflection.
His hopes came to fruition as sophomore forward Connor McCarthy redirected the ball towards the net, where the Raiders’ goalie was unable to completely stop its trajectory.
After a brief moment of absolute silence during which it was unclear if a goal was scored, the Harvard sideline erupted.
With four seconds remaining, the game was tied at three. The tally would not change during two scoreless periods before both sides walked off the pitch with a 3-3 draw.
“It’s good to get a tie after what we’ve been through the last few games of just losing,” Friedman said. “But for us a tie is not good enough.”
The Crimson (2-10-3, 0-4-1 Ivy) would have had a better chance at a more favorable result had it not been for defensive errors early in the game.
Colgate (10-4-4, 4-1-1 Patriot) took an early lead in the fifteenth minute thanks to a cross from the midfield that bounced over the outreached foot of a Harvard defender and found Raiders senior forward Steven Miller, who finished the play by putting a shot past the Crimson’s goalie inside the far post.
Fifteen minutes later, Miller put Colgate up by two when he finished a cross from the corner.
“Unfortunately we didn’t come out like we should have,” Friedman said. “Mental mistakes ... from several people—that’s the type of stuff that can cost you a game. That’s something we’ve been struggling with all season.”
Ten minutes later, Harvard posted an answer when freshman midfielder Tim Schmoll took a pass from co-captain Tim Linden and fired it just under the crossbar, cutting the deficit to one. The Crimson continued to control play in the final minutes of the first half but was unable to find an equalizing goal.
Coming out of the break, Harvard continued applying pressure, but miscommunication and errant passes kept the squad from tying the match. In the 58th minute, the Raiders took a second two-goal lead as Miller completed his hat trick on a header that resulted from a defensive error.
“Some really poor mistakes led to goals,” Crimson coach Carl Junot said. “We quite literally gifted them three goals. There were two missed clearances and one pass directly to them. We have to take credit for not handling our business defensively.”
With just over ten minutes remaining in the match, Harvard made a game of it when Friedman drove a free kick into the box. Senior Jamie Rees handled the rest, deflecting the ball into the back of the net and giving the Crimson life.
With the scoreboard now reflecting only a one goal difference, the whole Harvard bench stood on the sideline and cheered for the rest of the match.
“That’s when we started believing,” Friedman said. “The attitude on the field really changed. We were not losing that game. That’s the attitude we had.”