Despite a flurry of activity in front of the Crimson goal in the game’s waning moments, Harvard (5-1, 1-0 Ivy) held on to extend its winning streak to four.
The win avenged the 3-0 loss at the end of last season that denied Harvard the Ivy League championship. It was also the Crimson’s first defeat of Brown (2-2-1. 0-1) since 1996, the year Harvard last won an Ivy title.
“This was Coach Kerr’s first win over Brown,” junior forward Ladd Fitz said, “and it’s great to get a team like Brown out of the way.”
Ara, who had scored the first Harvard goal on a penalty kick, gathered the ball just past the 18 before booting the game-winner. The ball had been punched out of the penalty area by Gomez, who was sandwiched between one of his defenders and a Crimson forward.
“The ball came out to me about 25 yards out,” Ara said. “I just hit it first time and put it over the goalie’s head. It was basically an empty net.”
The winning goal came just when things were beginning to look their bleakest for Harvard.
Momentum had shifted in the Bears’ favor after Brown junior Adom Crew scored in the 65th minute on a header off a corner kick to tie the game at one.
Brown went on the attack after that, taking a number of hard shots from the outside and kicking crosses over the middle.
But Harvard struck back on Ara’s tally, his seventh of the season.
Down 2-1 with about 15 minutes to play, Brown (2-2-1, 0-1) began to get desperate.
Though the Brown forwards attacked relentlessly, the Harvard defense refused to allow them many quality shots, and anything that did get by was gobbled up by sophomore goalie Jamie Roth, who finished with nine saves.
In the closing minutes, Brown had a couple of head balls that went wide of the goal by inches, to the relief of the few scattered Harvard fans in the stands.
The Crimson’s first goal came in the 36th minute. Captain Micheal Cornish was tripped from behind about five yards in front of the Brown goal. The whistle blew immediately, and Kevin Ara lined up to take the penalty kick.
He struck it hard to the lower left hand corner of the net, fooling Gomez, who had lunged to his right.
The Crimson players got another break soon after they found they would be playing a man up for the rest of the game.