On a chilly night when goalkeeping reigned supreme, Harvard women’s soccer found the back of the net early in extra time to help head coach Ray Leone reach a milestone in his career.
The Crimson (8-4-3, 2-2-1 Ivy) edged the Bears (7-7-0, 1-4-0 Ivy), 1-0, to hand them their second loss to Harvard this season. But this time the Crimson took down its Ivy rivals on its own turf on Wednesday night at Soldiers Field Soccer/Lacrosse Stadium.
The non-conference game against an Ivy League opponent, a first in program history, proved to be a much tougher test than the first time around.
“Brown’s a great team, we have a lot of respect for them,” senior midfielder Aisha Price said. “We knew that even though we beat them last time, it’s a whole new game this time, so we took this game really seriously and they’re a good opponent. We came out with a good win today.”
After being held scoreless for 91 minutes, Harvard prevented a staunch Brown defense from recording its eighth shutout of the season.
Working off of a corner kick from sophomore midfielder Lauren Urke, freshman midfielder Brooke Dickens headed the ball to junior forward Elizabeth Weisman, who shot the ball into the lower right corner past Bears goalkeeper Amber Bledsoe to tally the lone goal of the match.
With Weisman’s goal, her fifth of the season, the Crimson lifted Leone to 250 all-time victories—58 of which have been with the Crimson in his six seasons leading Harvard.
“It means a lot to all of us,” Price said. “Ray is an amazing coach, we have an amazing, amazing coaching staff and we play for him every day, so it was great that we were here, playing for him on this great, big win today.”
Despite having played Brown earlier this year in a game that ended with the Crimson’s decisive win, 4-1, Leone acknowledges the difficulty of playing a team twice in the same season.
“They’re so tough,” Leone said. “If there’s anybody you don’t want to play twice, it’s Brown, and we did it anyway. They made some adjustments and so did we, and that’s why you can’t just repeat a performance. It’s not that simple, so it was tough for us especially since we had some players not play today.”
Although both teams had multiple opportunities to score throughout the game, neither found its offensive footing in regulation as each goalkeeper recorded five saves.
Harvard took what little offensive momentum there was for the first half, tallying three shots on goal to the Bears’ one.
The Crimson saw an early chance to score two minutes into the game when freshman midfielder Haley Washburn headed the ball towards the net, but Bledsoe logged one of her five saves, preventing an early Harvard lead.
The Crimson had another shot to score halfway through the first half, when sophomore defender Marie Margolius’s headed shot bounced off the crossbar.
Bethany Kanten, whose fourth shutout of the year kept Brown off of the scoreboard, went to work 22 minutes into the first half, by notching a diving save off of a cross from Bears forward Eliza Marshall.