Some nights, the ball just seems to refuse to find the back of the net. It was that kind of night for the Harvard women’s soccer team (3-3-2, 0-1 Ivy), which posted a season-high 31 shots, including 13 on goal. Ultimately, though, the Crimson came up empty handed in a 0-0 double overtime draw against Central Connecticut State University (1-8-1, 0-2 NEC) on Tuesday night at Soldier’s Field Soccer/Lacrosse Stadium.
Even though Harvard didn’t pick up a win, the team seemed happy with its performance according to junior co-captain Peyton Johnson.
“We can walk away knowing that we can create a lot of chances,” said Johnson, who leads the team with four assists this season. “It was definitely an improvement after [last Friday’s loss at] Penn. We learned things we’re good at, things we’re not good at, and we worked for 110 minutes and competed until the end.”
In first halves this season, the Crimson has had trouble jumpstarting its offense, scoring just three goals total in the first half of its games, and, accordingly, was looking to set the tone early.
“We were definitely trying to be more opportunistic—coming off of the Penn loss, I don’t think we practiced anything differently,” Johnson explained. “It was just a mentality switch. In the Penn game, there were opportunities that we didn’t take, and today I don’t think you could say that happened.”
Sophomore goalkeeper Bethany Kanten agreed, stating her team’s intention to attack the goal.
“We didn’t have too many shots on goal against Penn,” Kanten said. “So a lot of the focus on offense was to get in and shoot and force the keeper to make a save.”
Harvard came out of the gates strong, putting up two shots in the first two minutes and posting 10 in the first half overall, including three by sophomore midfielder Meg Casscells-Hamby.
In the 30th minute, her shot from the right side smacked off the crossbar and bounced down into the box, where a brief frenzy ensued before Blue Devil goalkeeper Nikola Deiter secured the ball.
The Crimson would have several more near-goal chances throughout the match, many set up by Casscells-Hamby, who had eight of Harvard’s 31 shots.
“Meg is a dynamic player,” Johnson said. “She always finds a way to make things happen. She works on both sides of the ball and makes the best of a lot of crummy situations.”
It was Casscells-Hamby who set up what was perhaps the Crimson’s best chance to score on the evening. At the 92:40 mark, she streaked down the right side and crossed the ball to junior forward Elizabeth Weisman, whose shot went off the crossbar. Senior defender Taryn Kurcz slid to knock the ball in, but Deiter was able to make the save.
Harvard’s defense remained consistent all game, allowing just five shots in the last 65 minutes of the game, and just four shots on goal for the match.
“The great defense from the back allowed us to be in attacking mode the whole time,” Johnson said. “We had a mentality of team defense today that meant the other team wasn’t able to get out of their half [of the field].”
Kanten credited her defensive players with providing the help necessary to hold Central Connecticut scoreless.