While the final score implies an easy Harvard victory, the first half of the game left bystanders unsure of the eventual outcome.
The visiting Crimson started out slow, firing off only four of its eight shots on goal during the first period. Fairfield was also contained offensively, registering only a quarter of their total shots in the first 45 minutes.
However, things began to heat up for Harvard in the 32nd minute of play, under the leadership of standout co-captain Andre Akpan.
The Grand Prairie, Texas native fired an unassisted rocket into the Stags’ net, recording the only goal of the first period standstill.
“We battled a team that sat in and defended with a lot of numbers,” Harvard coach Jamie Clark said. “It took us a lot of time to break them down, but we were patient and it paid off.”
The real reward for the Crimson came after Akpan’s goal. Harvard continued to wear down its Connecticut opponent, and unleashed a torrent of offensive fury following the half.
“The second 45 minutes we clearly were the better team,” Clark added.
Akpan—who leads Harvard in points, goals scored, assists, shots, and game winning goals—stepped up again in the beginning of the second half, registering an assist at 56:12. The senior set up freshman sensation Brian Rogers, who recorded his third goal in crimson and white.
The Crimson’s two-goal margin was increased once again by Akpan exactly three minutes later, on an assist from junior Rob Millock. The combined scoring effort marks Millock’s second assist of the year.
“Andre keeps scoring goals,” Clark said. “He keeps getting on the end of things—in the second half, he was very active and look[ed] good.”
Harvard continued its offensive barrage on a physically defeated Fairfield defense, racking up its fourth and final goal of the night late in the second half. Junior Tsiu Moorosi drove a pass to freshman Zack Wolfenzon, who found the Stags’ net with only eight minutes remaining in the game.
“Today, we were really patient, and we were feeling the game out,” said co-captain and midfielder Brian Grimm. “We were able to...play a pretty good second half which gave us the win.”
Harvard’s win was also bolstered by its consistently solid defense, including sophomore goalkeeper Austin Harms, who registered one save on the night.
The Crimson back line did let in a solitary Fairfield goal, at 83:57 from the Stags’ Jack Burridge on a Kwadwo Asante assist.
But Clark was unconcerned about this minor stain on the otherwise spotless Harvard performance.
“We’re not giving up many goals,” Clark said. “We gave up our goal with ten minutes to go, and the game was already over.”
Grimm echoed the sentiments of his coach, signifying the strength of his team’s defensive effort.
“It was another team effort where the back six played particularly well, continuing the defensive games we’ve been having,” Grimm said.
—Staff writer Alexandra J. Mihalek can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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