Less than seven minutes into the game, it seemed as if the Harvard women’s soccer team could keep close to No. 5/12 Boston College after junior Elizabeth Weisman scored and tied the game, 1-1.
But the Eagles offense proved too strong and the Crimson fell, 8-1, Saturday night at Soldiers Field Soccer/Lacrosse Stadium in its second home loss.
“Going into this game, we knew that we were facing a great team,” said junior co-captain and midfielder Peyton Johnson.
Boston College (7-0-2) scored the first goal of the game when senior Kristen Mewis received a pass from Lauren Bernard, faked, then maneuvered the ball past sophomore goalkeeper Bethany Kanten to give the visitors the lead just 4:39 into the contest.
Less than two minutes later, the Crimson (3-2-1) struck back with a goal of its own. Senior midfielder Aisha Price unleashed a huge throw-in to the far post, and junior forward Elizabeth Weisman one-timed the ball into the back of the net to even the contest at one apiece.
“As the ball was passed in, I could only think of how Aisha Price threw the ball so far to the back post—what an amazing throw,” Weisman said. “The goal felt great, but straight after, I began to focus on the next five minutes of the game. [In] those five minutes, [it is] very important that everyone is focused [on] the game, not just the goal.”
“The goal was a great moment for the team, and it made us very optimistic,” Johnson added. “Against such a tough team, this was a great chance and really exciting.”
Though Harvard had many more scoring opportunities—15 in total—Weisman’s goal was the team’s only score in the contest. And seven minutes after Weisman tied to score, the Eagles retook the lead off another goal from Mewis. By the end of the half, the visitors had opened up an insurmountable 5-1 advantage.
On the defensive end, Kanten played the entire first half, tallying four saves.
As the game progressed and slipped further from the team’s grasp, the Crimson pulled many of its starters, including Kanten, to give substitutes playing time. Sophomore Cheta Emba and later senior Alexandra Millet replaced Kanten in goal, and Harvard switched up its offense as well, giving many of the Crimson’s freshmen playing time.
“The playing time for the freshmen was great for lots of people,” Johnson said. “They got the chance to feel the pressure of a game on the field and to feel what it is like to really compete. This’ll be very helpful later in the season because now they will know what to do when they are thrust into more stressful situations such as the Ivies.”
After giving up five goals in the first half, Harvard allowed three more in the second frame.
Mewis led the scoring for the Eagles, earning a hat trick in just under 48 minutes.
Following the rout, the Crimson viewed the contest as a learning experience.
“We were upset about how the game ended, but in the second half we weren’t worried about the score,” Weisman said. “We were worried about our type of soccer and focused on getting better. We realize what went down, and we have to come back from this rough start and stay mentally tough during our next games.”
Johnson agreed with her teammate, stressing the Eagles’ array of skills.
“Playing against a team like Boston College is beneficial because if we make mistakes, they are going to expose them. We will look at the video of the game and see where we need to improve,” Johnson agreed. “We are lucky to have things like that because now we can see what works for us and get fired to prepare for and start Ivy play.”