Women's Soccer Drops First Ivy League Contest Since 2010

Emily C. Wong

Junior co-captain Peyton Johnson, shown above in previous action, tallied the Harvard women’s soccer team’s lone shot on goal in its 1-0 loss at Penn on Friday night. The Quakers sealed the win off a Kaitlyn Moore header that came with just seconds remaining in the contest.

With 20 seconds left in the second period and the score tied at zero, it looked as if the Harvard-Penn women’s soccer matchup was slated for overtime. But Quaker defender Kaitlyn Moore had other thoughts in mind as she knocked in a corner kick from Brianna Rano with four seconds left on the clock, giving her team the 1-0 victory Friday night at Rhodes Field.

It was the Crimson’s first road loss of the season.

“I think we played well as a whole,” sophomore goalkeeper Bethany Kantan said. “It was important for us to play as a team, and we played well and fought together the whole game. This was our best team performance this year.”

The match kicked off with Penn creating the first chance of the game less than 45 seconds in, as Kanten was tested by a shot from Penn’s senior forward Alex Dayneka. Six minutes later, Harvard (3-3-1, 0-1 Ivy) also registered its first attempt on goal from freshman forward Lauren Varela. Though Kanten saved Penn’s early shot, and Varela’s attempt sailed wide, these two early salvos foreshadowed the back-and-forth matchup between the Ivy League’s first- and second-place finishers in 2011.

Though held scoreless in the first half, the Crimson managed five shots in the opening frame, two of which came from junior co-captain Peyton Johnson. Not to be outdone, the Quakers (4-4, 1-0) matched the Crimson shot total, leading to the first of five saves for Kanten.

The second half opened with an attempt from Penn forward Kerry Scalora. Though the attempt went high, it set the stage for the next 45 minutes of play in which the Quakers dominated the ball, doubling Harvard’s shot attempts, 6-3.

“There was a lot of play mainly in the middle of the field, but not too many shots because Penn has such a strong defense,” Johnson said. “That definitely made it difficult for both teams to score. Penn has a strong offense and defense, so we had to play a lot of one-on-one matchups.”

Play continued in this fashion until the clock reached 89:52. At that point, a left-side corner kick from Brianna Rano sailed towards the box and was met by Moore, who proceeded to head the ball into the back of the net for her first goal of the season. The score, which came with 3.9 seconds left on the clock, left the Crimson staring at its first Ivy League defeat since October 2010.

“We played well in many ways, but we still have lots to be improved on,” Johnson said. “We definitely came to play, [and] we definitely competed and are proud of our effort. Unfortunately, things just did not go our way in those last few seconds.”

Johnson said that the team will treat this loss as a learning experience, taking from it things to be utilised in the rest of Ivy play.

“There are so many positives to take from this game,” Johnson said. “We were solid defensively, and we competed for the full 90 minutes of the game. At the end of the day, that is most important. Moving forward, we will take more scoring opportunities in future games, and we will be more mindful in the last few minutes of the game.”

Junior forward Elizabeth Weisman echoed her teammate’s sentiments, stressing the importance of taking advantage of every opportunity moving forward.

“We’ve reached a point where we need to reassess and make sure that we are always coming out with 100 percent effort,” Weisman said. “We took it for granted that we kept winning these past years. During the game, we did lots, but we could’ve pushed ourselves a little more. We will use this as motivation for upcoming games. ”

—Staff writer Oluwatoni A. Campbell can be reached at oluwatoni.campbell@college.harvard.edu.

—Staff writer Juliet Spies-Gans can be reached at jspiesgans@college.harvard.edu.

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