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Despite controlling play for most of the game, the Harvard women’s soccer team was shutout on Sunday, closing out its west coast swing 0-2.
“I think we played great,” junior Meg Casscells-Hamby said. “We are just starting out on the season and even though we lost, we learned a lot from the game.”
The Crimson fell to the University of San Francisco, 1-0, in the USF Tournament, which also featured the University of California Davis and UC Berkeley.
“It was a high intensity game,” sophomore Lauren Varela said. “We didn’t finish our opportunities but we were excited with the outcome because it shows that we have a lot of potential.”
Harvard outshot the Dons 16-5 but misfired on all but three of its attempts and couldn’t find the back of the net.
“It was pretty frustrating that we couldn’t put our opportunities away,” Casscells-Hamby said. “We’re just going to keep working on it. We got a lot of great chances we just got to work on putting them away.”
The Crimson also held an advantage in set play opportunities, earning 10 corner kicks to its opponents’ three.
“Set pieces are something that we have definitely been practicing the past few weeks,” Varela said. “We just need to work on finishing them but my attitude is that it is something that will come with more practice.”
The best opportunity of the kind came in the 32nd minute when Cascells-Hamby was fouled by San Francisco forward Sydney Telson with the ball on the outskirts of the box. The play set up a free kick that co-captain midfielder/defender Peyton Johnson drove over the top of San Francisco’s five-player wall and out of play.
The Crimson dictated action in the first half, outshooting its opponents 10-3, but failed to capitalize.
The action heated up early in the second half when freshman forward Margaret Purce put several strong attempts on San Francisco goaltender Madalyn Schiffer.
The scoring began and ended minutes later when freshman goalkeeper Lizzie Durack’s punt found its way to streaking San Francisco forward Mackenzie Krieser, who took the ball towards freshman defender Bailey Gary.
Gary then committed most costly of the Crimson’s 10 foul, which occurred just inside the box on the left side. The chance was awarded to the Dons’ Jaciara Melo, who boomed the resulting penalty kick past a frozen Durack.
Durack and junior goalkeeper Cheta Emba split time in goal. The match marked the freshman’s first regular season action.
“She did amazing,” Casscells-Hamby said. “She controlled our back line and worked really well with the team, especially for just coming into our season. She did great and made a lot of great saves.”
Durack has yet to record an official save, as Emba, who started the game in net, stopped each of the three shots on goals that the Crimson goalkeepers collectively faced.
Offensively, Purce led Harvard with five shots, including one on goal.
Six other Crimson players recorded a shot in the loss. With the loss, Harvard drops to 0-2 on the season.
The last time the Crimson opened its season out west was in 2008 when the Crimson fell to Long Beach State 3-0.
“We haven’t taken a trip like that in a few years so it was definitely an interesting experience for our team,” Varela said. “Despite [having less than 24 hours to adjust off the 6-hour flight] we came out really strong against Cal which was definitely encouraging and, I think, just goes to show the mental toughness our team has.”
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