The Harvard men’s soccer fought back on Saturday to force overtime for the seventh time this season but was not able to hold on in the extra period as the Crimson fell in double-overtime at Princeton.
The Crimson (2-8-3, 0-3-1 Ivy) was able to counter a late goal by the Tigers (6-5-2, 2-0-2) to extend the contest, but Princeton sophomore midfielder Alex Wettermann converted a loose ball in the box to seal the Tiger victory early in the second overtime period.
“We were under a ton of pressure from them getting balls in the box, but we had dealt with them very well throughout the game,” sophomore midfielder Tim Schmoll said. “That goal was the first time the ball hit the ground on a set piece, and it was kind of a scramble.”
Harvard’s defense held strong in the first period of overtime—the Tigers went without a shot—but failed to prevent Wettermann from taking advantage of a loose ball off a throw-in. Wetterman beat freshman goalkeeper Evan Mendez, dealing the Crimson its third straight loss in Ivy League play.
Mendez finished with six saves and two goals allowed in the contest.
The team was frustrated with the result, believing that the final score did not reflect the level of play throughout the game.
“It was their homecoming weekend, and they had a big crowd behind them,” sophomore forward Hiroki Kobayashi said. “But I think we had more goal-scoring opportunities and played better.”
The Crimson showcased its offensive and defensive abilities and was able to hold off strong set pieces by Princeton for most of the game. Despite being outmatched in possession, Harvard was effective in creating chances when it got the ball.
“We had times when we were putting a lot of pressure on them,” Schmoll said. “They also definitely had times, admittedly, where they were getting the ball repeatedly into our box and forcing us to defend, which we did very successfully. They had a lot of possession, but they weren’t creating clear-cut chances like we were.”
The Crimson’s ability to execute offensively became critical late in the second half after Princeton defender Mark Linnville scored on a long arcing shot that evaded Mendez and put Princeton up, 1-0.
But the Tigers’ lead was short lived.
Just two minutes after Princeton’s goal, senior forward Zack Wolfenzon tied the game, rebounding a shot from sophomore midfielder Matt Sheeleigh and beating Tigers’ goalie Seth MacMillan.
“That [goal] showed our mentality—that we really wanted to win,” Kobayashi said.
“We are very confident in our fitness and our ability to play the ball in behind other teams’ defenses,” Schmoll added. “We are very confident in our attacking plays and formation. We were really successful at times.”
But Wolfenzon was the only player to beat MacMillan, who finished with five saves.