Coming out of the first half, the Harvard women’s soccer team had recorded only one shot on goal and had yet to convert any of its chances near the opposing Siena net.
All of that changed quickly as the Crimson (8-4-1, 2-0-1 Ivy) scored three minutes into the second half and never looked back, downing the Saints (7-5-0, 2-2 MAAC), 2-0, last night at Soldiers Field Soccer/Lacrosse Stadium.
“They were good, they were dropping down,” said senior midfielder Hana Taiji, who scored Harvard’s first goal. “I think for us it was just a matter of finishing our chances. I think we got a lot of chances and we were in their attacking third quite a bit, we just needed to finish them.”
The first half was fairly uneventful, with Harvard controlling the possession with strong midfield play. But the Siena defense was able to thwart any chances the Crimson created with solid clears and tackles.
“That’s how it goes sometimes,” coach Ray Leone said. “We were keeping the ball, but we weren’t really getting in behind them so we were just trying to keep doing what we were doing and find an opening.”
The Crimson’s best chance before halftime was a shot by sophomore forward Elizabeth Weisman that sailed just above the crossbar after a lost goal kick from the Saints.
But Harvard remained confident entering the second half, as it tried to convert its strong play into scoreboard results.
“We weren’t scoring but we were moving and getting opportunities,” senior defender Rebecca Millock said. “We were confident we were going to come through because when you’re playing well and you have the ball you are going to score eventually.”
Taiji was able to score her first goal of the season and put the Crimson up one by deflecting a shot from freshman midfielder Mai Le. Co-captain Melanie Baskind, who originally served it in the box, also had an assist on the play.
“It was a great serve; we had a couple runners in there,” Leone said. “It hit one then another; that was a nice goal. That’s the way you want to score. It’s easier to score when a ball is served on the ground, and that was what happened, so it was great.”
“I don’t think it was the most beautiful goal, but I’m glad we got the win,” Taiji added.
After some back and forth play between the two teams, Harvard was able to score once more. Weisman had an unassisted shot from a tight angle on the right that just sneaked under the fingertips of Siena goalkeeper Erin Kelly.
This proved to be enough to secure the victory, as the Crimson finished off the game strongly with most on the team seeing action.
“Almost everybody got in, and that was great because they all deserve to play,” Leone said.
After a tough draw against Cornell last Saturday, the Crimson was happy to come out and return to its winning ways. Midway through the regular season, Harvard is pleased with its improvement, especially with its ball possession.