With just 21 seconds left, Harvard attackman Sean Kane scored to give the Crimson an 8-7 win and send Penn packing. After losing their last four meetings with the Quakers, the Crimson’s last minute heroics secured a victory in its Ivy League opener at Jordan Field.
The Crimson (3-1, 1-0), coming off a tough loss to Fairfield (5-2), rebounded and brought a great deal of intensity to a close and hard-fought match that saw six ties and five lead changes. Harvard yet again outshot its opponent, this time 33-30, and rallied from a poor second quarter to overcome the Quakers (1-6, 0-2).
“We are a relatively young team,” said Coach Scott Anderson, “and an aggressive team that wants to get up and down the field. Our athleticism helps us get shots.”
In the first quarter the Crimson jumped out to an early 1-0 lead with a goal by freshman attackman Brooks Scholl. The Quakers responded on a score by Garrett Blomquest, but Harvard went ahead 2-1 nearly a minute later on a goal by junior midfielder Jake Samuelson and then closed out the quarter’s scoring on Scholl’s second goal, giving the Crimson a 3-1 lead.
“We came in there pretty fired up,” Scholl said. “We wanted to get off to a quick start.”
In the second quarter, Penn struck back with three unanswered goals—the final one on a man-advantage with just 19 seconds remaining—giving the Quakers a 4-3 edge.
Harvard tied the game on a goal by freshman midfielder Zach Widbin and moved ahead on a score by freshman attackman Brian Mahler with 7:28 remaining in the third.
Less than two minutes later, though, Penn tied and then took the lead on goals by Brian Amen and James Riordan. With 16 seconds remaining, Harvard sophomore midfielder Carle Stenmark took advantage of a Quaker penalty to tie the game at six.
In the fourth quarter, Mahler scored his second of the day to give the Crimson a one-goal lead, only to have the game tied a minute later at 10:07 by Penn’s David Andrzejewski. In the tense final minutes, after a Quaker timeout, Harvard gained possession, and Sean Kane—assisted by sophomore midfielder Adam Mahfouda—rocketed a shot past the Penn goalie for the decisive goal—his second of the season.
Freshman goalkeeper Evan O’Donnell garnered Ivy League Rookie of Week honors with his 13-save performance, which included a brilliant stop with 10 seconds remaining to end Quakers’ hopes. O’Donnell has made 38 saves this season, with the second-highest save percentage (.585) and second-best goals against average (7.02) in the Ivy League.
“He’s been great,” Anderson said. “Very calm and poised—and that’s really helped him this year.”
Avenging last year’s loss to Penn marked an early-season highlight, but the team is not satisfied yet.
“[The goal is] to win the Ivy League,” Scholl said. “We have some tough games coming up, and the game against Cornell is going to be the biggest game of the season. If we could knock them off, that would be huge.”
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