A case of mistaken identity, coupled with tight play-calling, may have helped to put an end to Harvard men’s soccer’s Ivy League hopes.
The Crimson (2-9-4, 1-3-2 Ivy) fell to Ivy League champions Dartmouth (11-3-1, 5-0-1 Ivy) on a wonder-goal that came in the final minute of the game, after senior midfielder Matt Danilack’s bicycle kick found the back of the net.
The Crimson was forced to play the majority of the game with only 10 men, after freshman midfielder Paolo Belloni-Urso was ejected for receiving his second yellow card of the evening. The Delray Beach, Fla., native had previously picked up his penalty for pulling down a Dartmouth player with 25 ticks on the clock, just shortly after coming onto the field. There weren’t many complaints to be had from the Harvard players, as it was a clear pull, and it took place within a few yards of the referee.
Just under 10 minutes later though, the Crimson players, coaching staff, and fans were left puzzled as Belloni-Urso was issued a second yellow card for a late, but tame, challenge on a Dartmouth player around midfield. The referee quickly showed a yellow to the rookie, but hesitated for a very long time before pulling out the red card to send him off the field.
The unusual delay was a fairly obvious indication that the referee did not initially realize that it was Belloni-Urso who made the challenge, which means that the referee could have thought that he was issuing a first yellow card to him. This makes sense, as the second offense may have been worthy of a first yellow card, (even this is debatable) but it was by no means a challenge worth sending him off for. Thus, without meaning to, the referee had sentenced Harvard to playing the game, with a whole hour remaining on the clock, with one less player than its opponent.
Although the Crimson battled well to the end, the man-advantage proved to be too much for it to handle. Harvard spent most of the rest of the game defending, but the contest was not an outrageously one-sided affair. The Crimson definitely had its chances going forward. One can only wonder how the game would have turned out if Harvard had been able to play 11 strong.
The loss on October 28th was enough to eliminate Harvard from Ivy League contention this year. With two games remaining on the schedule, a win would have put the Crimson two points off the top spot, while a tie would have left it four back. In either scenario, the team would have had a lot to play for heading into its last two contests, but as it stands, the Crimson will have to wait until next year for a shot at Ancient Eight glory.
While most Harvard student-athletes do not pursue careers in professional sports, a select few are able to make the leap. Not only do some of them make the pros, but some of them also shine.
Dominic Moore ’03 (C, New York Rangers - NHL)
Coming off a successful playoff run last year, Moore has been making major contributions for the New York Rangers who currently stand at the top of their division. Moore lines up at center for the Rangers’ fourth line. Moore was the only Ranger on the board, ending a personal 13-game goal drought. Moore then registered 11:50 playing time in New York’s win against the Florida Panthers on Saturday.
Dominic and his two older brothers, Mark and Steve, were the first-ever brother trio to share the rink at the same time for the Crimson. Moore is currently tied for third in game-winning goals and eighth in career goals for the Crimson.
Alex Killorn ’12 (C, Tampa Bay Lightning - NHL)
Another Harvard alum, Alex Killorn faced off against the Rangers this past week for the fist time since Game 7 of last year's Eastern Conference Finals.
Killorn, centering the Lightning’s third line, scored in the first quarter to establish a lead early on the game, only the second time this season Tampa has held a lead after the first period. The Lightning win ended the Rangers’ chance to equal the longest winning streak in team history. Tampa then blanked the Florida Panthers 5-0 on Saturday where Killorn had one assist. The Lightning improved to 10-9-3 on the season.
Ryan Fitzpatrick ’04 (QB, New York Jets- NFL)
Fitzpatrick faced his former team this week when the New York Jets visited the Houston Texans. The Jets fell to 5-5 on the season this week with a 24-17 loss to the Texans on Sunday. Dreams of a playoff run are quickly fading for the Jets, who started the season with an impressive 4-1 record.
Fitzpatrick started for the Jets after having thumb surgery last week. The former Crimson Quarterback completed 19 of 39 passes for 216 yards with one touchdown and ran in for another touchdown, but two interceptions late in the fourth quarter thwarted any comeback attempt.
Mike Fucito ’09 (F, San Jose Earthquakes- MLS)
Fuctio completed his collegiate career at Harvard ranked fourth in career goals and in assists and led the Crimson to three consecutive NCAA tournament appearances from 2006-08. Fucito was traded to the San Jose Earthquakes from the Portland Timbers in 2013. Fucito has appeared in two games this season for the Earthquakes.
Freshman wide receiver Justice Shelton-Mosley earned Athlete of the Week honors by guiding Harvard football to a 24-16 win over Columbia on Saturday. The freshman wide receiver caught eight passes for 131 yards and added an 86-yard punt return for a touchdown in the fourth quarter. Aside from Shelton-Mosley’s impact on the gridiron, three other Crimson had crucial performances in their teams’ wins.
Jimmy Vesey, Men’s Ice Hockey
The co-captain scored twice and added an assist in Harvard’s 5-2 win over Brown at the Bright-Landry Hockey Center. This marked the 11th two-goal game in his career. In the first period, Vesey netted a shorthanded goal, and he tallied another in the second on a 3-on-2. The North Reading, Mass. native assisted Kyle Criscuolo on his third-period goal. Vesey’s three points equaled the team’s margin of victory in the win over the Bears, and his effort led the Crimson to its third win of the season. The senior forward is averaging a goal and an assist per game so far this year.
Michael Innocenzi, Men’s Soccer
The senior forward’s two goals proved to be the difference as Harvard beat Columbia, 2-0, on the road Saturday. In the 62nd minute, sophomore midfielder Sam Brown played a corner kick into the box, and Innocenzi was able to guide the ball past the keeper to give the Crimson its first goal of the contest. Later in the second half, Innocenzi doubled Harvard’s lead with another header off a pass from senior midfielder Tim Schmoll. These two goals marked the first brace of Innocenzi’s four-year career at Harvard. In 16 games played this season, the Franklin Lakes, N.J. native has four goals, including two game-winning goals.
Karly Heffernan, Women’s Ice Hockey
Over the weekend, Heffernan recorded four assists in two Crimson wins, extending the team’s current winning streak to three. In the Crimson’s 3-2 win over Yale, the sophomore forward assisted on both of freshman forward Grace Zarzecki’s goals. The next day, Heffernan picked up another pair of assists in Harvard’s defeat of Brown, 5-1. After the two weekend games, Heffernan increased her point streak to three games, and she has tallied all of her season-total five assists during that span. In six games this year, the native of Sherwood Park, Alberta has six points, including one goal.
Last season, the only thing separating the Harvard men’s soccer team from the NCAA Tournament was Penn. But with a 2-0 win over the Crimson in the season finale, it was the Quakers who captured the Ivy League crown as well as an automatic tournament bid.
After a year of waiting, Harvard (11-4-2, 4-1-2 Ivy) finally earned its revenge on Saturday. Behind an 89th minute goal from freshman forward Christian Sady, the Crimson picked up its first victory over Penn since 2010.
But despite closing the season with a win, Harvard found itself on the outside looking in when the 48-team tournament field was announced by the NCAA Division I Men’s Soccer Committee Monday.
After recording its best record since 2009, the Crimson held an outside chance of making the field, but according to Harvard coach Pieter Lehrer, the team had tempered its expectations.
The Crimson had entered the weekend trailing Dartmouth and Princeton by two points in the Ivy League standings, needing a win and losses from both rivals to earn an automatic bid. Otherwise, Harvard—ranked no. 55 in RPI—faced a steep hill to obtain an at-large bid.
In the end, the chips would not fall into place, as both the Big Green (11-4-2, 5-1-1) and the Tigers (11-3-3, 5-1-1) picked up wins in their final games. Meanwhile, Harvard fell to no. 59 in RPI.
By virtue of a 2-1 win over Princeton in October, Dartmouth—ranked no. 27 in RPI—received the automatic bid from the Ancient Eight. The Big Green takes on Fordham in the opening round Thursday.
Meanwhile, the Tigers join the Crimson on the outside of the field, having narrowly missed the cut. Princeton finished the season ranked no. 41 in RPI, but with several teams lower in the rankings receiving automatic bids for winning their conferences, the Tigers were out of luck.
Harvard played to a 0-1-1 record against the co-Ivy League champions.
The Crimson tied Dartmouth when the two sides clashed three weeks ago in Hanover, as senior midfielder Kyle Henderson found the back of the net on the team’s only shot of the contest.
Harvard was not as fortunate on the road against Princeton, however. Despite mounting a comeback late in the game, the Crimson could not climb out of an early three-goal hole, falling to the Tigers, 3-2.
The loss would be the only one that Harvard would endure in conference play, but it proved to make all the difference in the standings—backing up a claim made by junior defenseman Philip Fleischman back in October.
“Every game in the Ivy League is like a single elimination tournament,” Fleishman said.
Appears that way.
Published by David Freed
on September 26, 2014 at 2:12PM
After scoring three goals in sixteen minutes to take out Northeastern on Tuesday, the Harvard men’s soccer team (4-3-0) is riding high. The Crimson has scored 10 goals in four games heading into its game against UMass (1-5-0) on Friday, looking to take out its third in-state rival in less than two weeks. The Back Page previews the matchup below.