Harvard Injuries Aid Crusaders

After a heartbreaking loss on Saturday to Brown, the Crimson (8-2-2, 1-1 Ivy) suffered an unexpected tie to unranked Holy Cross (5-4-2, 1-0-2 Patriot) in double overtime yesterday.

“We didn’t come out as hard as we wanted,” junior Micheal Giammanco said. “We wanted to come out more intense. That was how we wanted to come out after Brown. I think we could have had a better game.”

Harvard started off strong and was the first on the scoreboard. In the twenty-second minute Giammanco headed to himself at midfield and carried the ball up the left side. Giammanco then crossed the ball to the middle of the box where sophomore Andre’ Akpan beat sophomore Crusaders goalie Thomas Booth and touched the ball into the back of the net.

The goal also extended Akpan’s scoring streak to nine straight games.

The Crimson held the lead until the forty-third minute of the first half when Harvard fouled in the penalty box, and Holy Cross was awarded a penalty shot. Crusaders junior Alejandro Melean scored the penalty shot on goalie and senior co-captain Adam Hahn.

Holy Cross managed to shut the Crimson down for the rest of the game. The Crusaders implemented a safe sit-back defense.

The Crusader strikers did not put pressure on the four Harvard defenseman, which allowed Crimson to control the ball in the backfield. But when Harvard tried to make an offensive push, they could not penetrate.

“They sat in against us the whole time, and it was difficult to break them down,” senior co-captain Adam Hahn said.

During the first overtime, the Crimson kept the ball on the Holy Cross’s end, but it could not convert attempts into goals. In the seventh minute of overtime, Akpan took a ground shot from the left but it went just wide.

During the second overtime, Holy Cross gained control and had good movement, while Harvard played more on the defensive.

One reason the Crimson wasn’t able to find the back of the net was the amount of injuries it sustained during the game. Early in the first half junior Mike Fucito collided with the Crusader goalie and severely injured his shoulder. With Fucito out for the rest of the game, Harvard lost its second-leading scorer and some of its offensive spark. Junior John Stamatis and Giammanco also sustained injuries during the game.

As a result, many players came off the bench to pick up the slack, with freshman Allen Padua and sophomore Adam Rousmaniere each tallying a shot.

“The substitutes came off the bench and give us a big lift,” head coach John Kerr said. “That was great because we needed them, we suffered a few injuries. They played really well coming off the bench.”

Harvard is set to face Princeton this Saturday. This will be a critical Ivy game for the Crimson coming off of the loss to Brown and yesterday’s tie.

“We know that they are going to be hungry. They are passing team and they move very well,” Kerr said. “We are going to need to move the ball quicker and be sharper on defense.”