Coming into the weekend off three straight victories to open its 2014 campaign, the Harvard women’s soccer team (3-2-0) suffered its first defeats of the young season, losing on the road to Boston College (7-1-0) before suffering a narrow defeat at home against Colgate (5-1-1).
In both games, late goals by its opponents doomed the Crimson after competitive first halves.
“90 minutes is a long time and we need to make sure we’re playing and staying focused for the full 90,” co-captain Marie Margolius said. “I think that’s something that comes with experience as a team and...learning the mental side of the game.”
COLGATE 1, HARVARD 0
The Crimson was shut out for the second straight game and allowed another late goal in a home loss to the Raiders on Sunday afternoon at Soldiers Field.
Despite combining for only one goal in the contest, both teams produced plenty of scoring opportunities throughout the game, as Colgate barely outshot Harvard, 13 to 11.
Freshman midfielder Eliza Doll netted the decisive goal, the first of her collegiate career, in the 75th minute on a strike from just outside the box. The tally followed two threatening shots on goal from the Raiders in the 73rd and 74th minutes, both of which were saved by senior goaltender Cheta Emba, who finished with six stops.
The Crimson had its best chances at the end of the first half, as Harvard had consecutive corner kicks in the 30th minute and sophomore forward Midge Purce had five shots, including an attempt that just cleared the crossbar in the 26th minute and a shot that hit the outside of the post in the 39th minute.
“We are building,” Purce said. “We will continue to build and we will create something special, but right now we are building.”
BOSTON COLLEGE 2, HARVARD 0
Although the Eagles created more scoring chances early, the Crimson managed to keep the contest scoreless deep into the second half. Two late goals ultimately propelled Boston College to victory as its stout defense gave Harvard very few chances to score on Friday afternoon at Newton Soccer Field.
The Eagles broke through in the 77th minute when sophomore forward Hayley Dowd beat sophomore goalkeeper Lizzie Durack on a free kick from 24 yards out. Just five minutes later, Dowd’s classmate Andrea O’Brien notched the second goal for Boston College, effectively putting the game out of reach.
The Eagles came out firing right from the opening whistle, peppering the Harvard defense with four shots before the Crimson produced its first chance, a header from Margolius in the 19th minute that went wide. Harvard controlled the majority of the possession in the opening 45 minutes but had troubled translating that ball control into opportunities in the offensive third of the field.
Despite outshooting the Crimson seven to one in the first half, the Eagles could not convert on any of its chances as the teams headed to halftime tied at zero. Sophomore goalkeeper Lizzie Durack again proved key for Harvard in net, saving 4 shots in the first frame to help prevent the Crimson from falling behind early.
Harvard appeared revitalized to start the second half, limiting Boston College to just one shot through the first 30 minutes of the period while drawing a host of fouls on the Eagles. However, it was a foul on the Crimson that ultimately changed the game, as Dowd took advantage of her free kick opportunity to put Boston College ahead for good.
The tally broke Durack’s streak of 211 minutes without allowing a goal to start the season. The Sydney, Australia native splits time with Emba, as the duo have shared the goalkeeping responsibilities for Harvard since last season.
The victory for the Eagles continues their recent dominance against the Crimson, as Harvard is 0-7-1 since 2005 against its crosstown rivals.
The loss also snapped the Crimson’s regular season unbeaten streak at 17 games.
—Staff writer Brenna Nelsen can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.