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Men's Soccer Takes Two in Winning Weekend

Andrew Wheeler-Omiunu, shown here in previous action, scored a goal against Manhattan and notched an assist against Hartford. The Harvard men's soccer team won both games at home this weekend.
Andrew Wheeler-Omiunu, shown here in previous action, scored a goal against Manhattan and notched an assist against Hartford. The Harvard men's soccer team won both games at home this weekend.
By Jake Meagher, Crimson Staff Writer

Fresh off its first win of the season Tuesday, the Harvard men’s soccer team (3-3-0) picked up right where it left off this weekend, scoring seven goals and earning two victories over Hartford (3-2-1) and Manhattan (1-3-1).

HARVARD 3, MANHATTAN 0

Despite being held scoreless at the half, the Crimson continued its recent offensive success in Cambridge on Sunday, exploding for three second half goals en route to a 3-0 victory.

Sophomore midfielder Andrew Wheeler-Omiunu provided what proved to be the winning goal for Harvard in the 49th minute. The sophomore initiated the attack himself, intercepting a pass on the left wing and sending senior forward Hiroki Kobayashi on a run up the field.

Kobayashi directed a low pass into the box, which was initially knocked away by Jaspers’ keeper Alex Coates McDowall. But Wheeler ran onto the ball in the midst of some defensive confusion and finished a shot into the right side of the net to put the Crimson on top.

“We’ve [always] had that killer mentality on defense, and we’re finally translating it into offense,” Wheeler-Omiunu said. “Everyone’s pushing us forward when we’re in the box trying to score, and that positive attitude in the final third is pushing us over the edge right now.”

The Harvard back line managed to limit the Manhattan offense to just four shots on goal for the game. Crimson goalkeeper Evan Mendez saved all four, earning his first clean sheet of the season.

“It was a good performance from Evan,” said Harvard assistant coach Jonathan Delano. “We’ve been working really hard as a group trying to tighten [the defense] up and come away with a clean sheet.”

Although one goal was all the support Mendez would need, the Crimson received an insurance goal from an unlikely source to lock up the win.

Up by one score in the 60th minute, freshman midfielder Sam Brown curled a free kick into the box, where it dipped past several crashing Harvard attackers, catching the goalkeeper by surprise.

The ball may have skipped into the net by itself, but junior co-captain Mark Ashby left no doubt about it, heading the ball into the upper left corner for his second goal in as many games.

Rounding out the scoring for the Crimson was junior forward Jake Freeman, who beat the keeper on a second chance opportunity in the 70th minute.

HARVARD 4, HARTFORD 1

In the team’s first contest of the year at Ohiri Field on Friday, the Crimson defeated Hartford, 4-1.

“I was really happy with the whole performance, both offensively and defensively,” Ashby said. “Hartford’s a good team, but I thought we really shut them down in all ways. Really dominated them.”

In the victory, Harvard fired 22 shots at the Hawks, twelve of which were on target. Consequently, the Crimson put four balls into the back of the net for the first time since 2009.

Harvard played with a lead for nearly the game’s entirety after opening the scoring in the eighth minute. After freshman forward Tyler Savitsky sent a cross deep into Hartford territory, Kobayashi headed home a ball from Wheeler-Omiunu for his first connection of the season.

In addition to Kobayashi, the other three goal-scorers also all earned their first tallies of the year. And for one important member of the Crimson, the goal was the first of his career.

Shortly after Hartford cut the lead to 2-1 early in the second half on a goal from senior defenseman Connor Yeaney, Ashby earned his chance—one that he considered “a long time coming.”

Running up the left sideline, freshman midfielder Christian Sady curled a ball into the box, finding junior midfielder Tim Schmoll. Schmoll redirected the ball towards the captain, who capitalized on a diving header, effectively putting the game away for good.

Also getting on the scoreboard for the Crimson were junior attacker Oliver White and senior midfielder David Barna. Both goals were assisted by Savitsky, with White scoring on a breakaway late in the first half and Barna finding an opening in the box in the 73rd minute.

—Staff writer Jake Meagher can be reached at jmeagher@college.harvard.edu.

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