Women's Soccer Ties Cornell, 1-1, in Double-OT

Zorigoo Tugsbayar

For the second straight weekend, sophomore midfielder Meg Casscells-Hamby found the back of the net, scoring in the third minute of the Harvard women’s soccer team’s 1-1 tie to Cornell on Saturday afternoon.

On a windy Saturday at Soldier Field Soccer/Lacrosse Stadium, the Harvard women’s soccer team tied Cornell, 1-1, in double overtime. The Crimson scored early in the game and gave up a late goal in the second half after holding the Big Red scoreless for most of the game.

Harvard (5-3-3, 1-1-1 Ivy) got off to a quick start when freshman Emily Mosbacher drove down the left side of the Cornell defense into the penalty box.

The rookie then flicked the ball over to crossing sophomore Meg Casscells-Hamby, who kicked it past the goalie to give the Crimson a 1-0 lead four minutes into the game. It was Casscells-Hamby’s third goal of the season, which tied her for the team lead with senior Taryn Kurcz, who is also a Crimson sports executive.

For the rest of the half, Harvard drove down the left side of the Cornell (1-10-1, 0-2-1) defense a number of times, creating multiple opportunities. But Harvard was unable to tack on an insurance goal.

In the second half, the defense held strong against a series of Big Red attacks until Cornell junior Mary Keroack scored her first goal of the season in the 74th minute, knocking a corner past Crimson sophomore goalkeeper Bethany Kanten into the upper right corner of the net.

“It was a struggle for us getting into a flow today,” Harvard coach Ray Leone said. “We scored early, and then we let down. We’ve done this one time before this year, and it’s something we need to work on.”

The Crimson applied pressure all day against Cornell goalkeeper Tori Christ. Led by Casscells-Hamby and co-captain Peyton Johnson, the team shot the ball 25 times, with 11 of those on goal. Harvard outshot its opponent, 11-6, in the first half and had seven corner kicks to its opponent’s four.

“We were really great at getting around the corner today,” Johnson said. “Our forwards did a great job beating their players one-on-one. We can stand to be a little bit more dynamic and less predictable in our offense, but I think we created some great chances, and that’s how we got the first goal.”

On the defensive side of the ball, the Crimson held stout against a Cornell attack that had scored six goals in its last three games. The Big Red only had two shots on goal on the day and none in the first half, as Harvard controlled play with the wind at its back. In the second half, the Crimson faced the wind, which made it harder to clear balls from its side of the field, and gave up the one score on eight shots. It was the fifth game in a row Harvard gave up one or fewer goals.

“The defense is getting better, and I’m pleased with how hard they are defending,” Leone said. “They’re really being accountable. One goal against any of these teams in the Ivy League is pretty good.”

This was the third time in four games that the team has needed more than 90 minutes to decide the outcome of the contest.

Three of the Crimson’s games ended in a tie after double overtime, as many as the rest of the Ivy League combined.

“When it comes to the Ivy League, you definitely don’t want to lose,” Johnson said. “You want to get a point, at least, in overtime, so it’s an interesting balance between trying to come away with at least a point and wanting three. You want to go for your chances but not cede any chances and let overtime slip away.”

After three games, the Crimson trails Ivy League co-leaders Princeton (7-3-1, 3-0-0) and Penn (7-4-1, 3-0-0) by five points.

With five league games left, including one against last-place Brown (6-4-0, 0-3-0) and one away game at Princeton, Johnson said moving forward, Harvard must focus on its own performances and not the results of other teams.

“What’s definitely going to linger in our minds is that we had this game and things slipped away from us,” Johnson said. “At this point, all we can do about our Ivy chances is think one game at a time. We can control what we can control and that’s the games we play.

“It’s a very up-and-down league, and there’s definitely a possibility of some craziness from other teams,” Johnson added. “We are just going to try and take care of what we can.”