Following a last-second loss at Penn on Friday, the Harvard women’s soccer team will attempt to bounce back on Wednesday evening on its home turf. The Crimson (3-3-1, 1-0 Ivy) will face Central Connecticut State University (1-8, 0-2 NEC) at Soldiers Field Soccer/Lacrosse Stadium.
Though the loss to the Quakers was Harvard’s first road defeat of the season, it was given greater significance both because it was the first Ivy match-up of the year and because Penn and the Crimson have alternated as Ivy League champions for the past three years.
The team that Harvard will play on Wednesday, however, has not yet shown the offensive power that the Crimson has faced against previous opponents. The Blue Devils have scored only three goals on the year in a total of nine games. Sophomore forward Kerriann Welch has one of these goals, while she also leads the team in shots (15) and shots on goal (6).
Junior Allison Kelley has also been a leader for CCSU’s offense, totaling 12 shots—four on goal—with one score. On the defensive end, junior goalkeeper Nikola Deiter has made 51 saves on the season for a 76 percent save average.
Despite the Blue Devils’ record, Harvard will not look past this opponent, according to senior midfielder Aisha Price.
“We take each game very seriously,” Price said. “This game is especially important to us because we have had some tough losses. We see each game as a chance to improve ourselves as a team.”
Freshman Emily Mosbacher echoed Price’s sentiments, emphasizing the team’s focus on itself rather than its counterparts.
“We are going to come prepared for whomever we’re playing,” Mosbacher said. “We are really focused on improving ourselves and our game throughout the season no matter what. We all really want to win this game and that’s true before every game, no matter who the opponent is.”
The Crimson’s defense has proved consistent all year, largely thanks to sophomore goalkeeper Bethany Kanten. Kanten has racked up 33 saves and allowed 12 goals in seven games, earning a 73 percent save average. The Harvard defense gave up only six goals in the first five games of the season, and, excepting the disappointing 8-1 loss against then-No. 5 Boston College last weekend, has allowed a total of only seven goals this season.
“We feel very confident in our defense this season,” Mosbacher said. “We have a young back line, but I think that’s to our advantage because they’re very talented. We’ve put together a really strong team.”
Among strong defense, however, the Crimson’s offense has had more power thus far this season. Senior Taryn Kurcz has led the team in goals, scoring three, while junior co-captain Peyton Johnson paces the team in assists with four. Several freshmen—forwards Lauren Varela and Mosbacher as well as midfielder Haley Washburn—have netted goals as well.
“From the back line to the very front we have a strong team,” Price said. “And we are young, but all the players are incredibly hard workers.”
Wednesday’s game comes after a brief road trip, and Harvard stated its appreciation of getting to play at home once more.
“It’s so great playing at home,” Mosbacher said. “Being on our own turf, having our own fans there to see us, and playing under our own lights is really special.”
The team, according to Price, is viewing this particular game as a way to move forward and a way to move towards its season goals.
“I think we have so much potential as a team,” Price concluded. “I think our team has so much to accomplish this year. This will definitely help us get to where we want to be.”