Blowout Preserves Playoff Dreams

Crimson still alive for NCAA Tournament bid after routing Columbia

Raquel Rodriguez

Sophomore Kwaku Nyamekye, shown here in earlier action, tallied his fourth goal of the season, a game-winner off a corner kick from junior Michael Fucito that made the score 2-0 early in the first half.

After a tough shutout loss last weekend against Dartmouth, the No. 15 Crimson soccer team returned to true form, capturing a decisive 5-1 victory over Columbia on Saturday.

Harvard, which now has a 3-2-0 record in Ivy League play, benefited from a strong performance from many of its sophomores and bench players.

“We accomplished what we wanted to,” senior co-captain Matt Hoff said. “[It was a] good rebound game from last weekend.”

The showdown in New York started off well for the Crimson, which watched as a pass to Columbia’s keeper, Michael Testa, found its way into the net after Testa slipped trying to recover the ball. The own goal was recorded after only 22 seconds of play.

Shortly thereafter, junior Michael Fucito sent a corner kick to sophomore Kwaku Nyamekye, who directed the ball into the back of the net. Nyamekye, who proved himself as a dominating offensive force in Harvard’s overtime win against Princeton two weeks ago, registered his fourth goal of the season—once again tallying the eventual game-winning goal.

Sophomore teammates Chey Im, Adam Rousmaniere, and Andre’ Akpan also added scores for the Crimson.

“Everyone played awesome,” said senior co-captain and goalkeeper Adam Hahn. “All around, everyone had a very good day.”

Im’s goal was his first of the season and was scored after 44 minutes of play off of an assist from sophomore Brian Grimm.

Only 10 minutes later, Rousmaniere found the net off of a corner kick by freshman Allen Padua.

The Crimson’s fourth goal was Rousmaniere’s first—and Padua’s first assist—of the season.

“We scored a couple of good goals,” coach John Kerr said. “Adam Rousmaniere came off the bench and gave us a great lift and scored a great goal.”

The final Harvard goal was scored by sophomore standout Akpan, who leads the team with 12.

Hahn and sophomore Joseph Alexander manned the goal for the Crimson, registering one save each. Columbia’s lone goal was scored on Alexander in the 85th minute of play.

Not only does Saturday’s result raise Harvard in the Ivy League standings, but it will also serve to boost team morale.

“I was happy with the [team’s] performance,” Kerr said. “It was a great game for us to get back on the winning track.”

Hahn was also pleased with his team’s showing against the Lions.

“We just played great soccer,” Hahn said. “We came out and brought a level of intensity and pressure we needed to bring.”

The Crimson will need to have another exceptional performance next weekend with the Ivy League title and at-large bids for the NCAA Tournament still at stake when it meets Penn at Ohiri Field in its last home match of the regular season.

For now, however, the team is just enjoying its victory.

“We’re excited about the win,” Hahn said. “It’s a great day to be a Harvard soccer player.”

—Staff writer Alexandra J. Mihalek can be reached at