In her two seasons with Harvard women’s soccer, Midge Purce has already accumulated an impressive list of accomplishments. Ivy League Rookie of the Year. Ivy League Player of the Year. Member of the U.S. U-20 national team.
But perhaps the most important accolade is the shortest of all: Ancient Eight champion.
By scoring two goals in a 2-1 win over Columbia (7-4-6, 2-3-2) last Saturday, the sophomore Purce claimed her second Ivy League crown. As a team, the Crimson (10-4-2, 5-1-1 Ivy) has won three of the past four conference titles.
“It’s hard to describe how much it means to win the title again,” senior Bethany Kanten said. “It’s an amazing feeling to reap the rewards for our hard work and commitment.”
In the 63rd minute, Purce broke a 1-1 tie with a header goal off a free kick from Kanten. A moment before, Purce had earned the foul, which the referee whistled just outside the box.
Purce also supplied Harvard’s first goal in the 30th minute. After forward Emily Mosbacher played a cross into the box, Purce slid a first-time finish into the right side of the goal. On the game, Purce recorded four more shots than the entire Lions side.
“[Midge] was awesome,” co-captain Marie Margolius said. “We always get a lot of chances, and one thing we worked on in practice was just finishing them…. Midge obviously worked on that this week, and it really showed in her play.”
For the second consecutive season, Purce leads the Crimson in goals and points, with eight and 18 respectively. She is one of five players to see action in all 16 games, starting 14 of them.
“The most dangerous part of her game for opponents is her work ethic and her attitude of always looking to score goals and create dangerous situations,” Kanten said. “As a defender, it’s hard to face that kind of determination and passion.”
The league title adds to a resume of success that stretches back to high school, when Purce won Gatorade Player of the Year in Maryland and suited up for the U-17 women’s national team that qualified for the 2012 World Cup, starting three games.
She will have a chance to add another accomplishment to her growing resume this Saturday when Harvard begins NCAA tournament play against Central Connecticut State at home.
A year ago, the team stumbled in its tournament opener, losing 1-0 to Boston University in a game where it managed just four total shots, two on goal.
The second time around, the Crimson will once again rely on Purce, who had three shots in last year’s game, to give it an edge offensively.
“She’s so determined to win and so passionate about our team,” Kanten added. “Our team can feel her energy on the field, and it brings everyone up.”
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