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The Harvard men’s soccer team (2-3-6, 1-0-2) tied two important contests last week, one 0-0 to Ivy League rival Brown University (4-4-3, 1-0-2), and another 1-1 to crosstown rival Boston University (7-2-3, 4-0-1). However, after defeating the Yale Bulldogs 3-1 on Saturday night, the Crimson now stand in first place in the Ivy League table.
v. Yale University, 3-1
Harvard notched three second-half goals to erase a 1-0 deficit against the Yale Bulldogs on Saturday night and improve to 8-1-5 in the squad’s past 14 Ivy League games.
The archrivals played a quiet first half on Saturday night at Jordan Field, with sophomore goalkeeper Lucian Wood making three of his four saves in the first 45 minutes of action. However, the Bulldogs’ Alex Umana opened the scoring in the 61st minute to give Yale the lead.
The Crimson responded two minutes later, with first-year Andreas Savva tallying his first collegiate goal when he tapped in a cross following a chaotic sequence in the box, setting off a jubilant celebration from the team. Harvard took the lead in the 80th minute of play off of a set piece when junior defender Jan Riecke deflected a corner kick through traffic in front of the net and past the Yale goalkeeper.
Junior Alessandro Arlotti notched his fourth goal of the season in the 90th minute of play, blasting a free kick into the right side of the net to secure the 3-1 final score. The goal marked Arlotti’s second straight game with a goal off of a free kick.
v. Boston University, 1-1
Junior Alessandro Arlotti netted his third goal of the season and 17th of his career in a 1-1 draw with the Boston University Terriers.
Although Harvard was able to challenge the backline of the Terriers and take an early shot on goal, Boston University earned the first goal of the match. Terrier freshman Jason Zacarias got the ball at midfield and passed it ahead to graduate student Colin Innes, who found sophomore Alex Bonnington. Bonnington was able to squeak the ball past sophomore goalkeeper Lucian Wood for the first goal of the game.
The Terriers had another chance at goal shortly after, but it was the Crimson who struck next. In the 22nd minute, first-year Andreas Savva drew a foul outside the box, and Arlotti was able to drive the subsequent free kick into the upper right-hand corner of the goal.
Wood was able to keep the game even for the Crimson with a pair of saves off shots from Innes, as well as graduate student Quinn Matulis, before the teams exited the pitch at half.
While the game stayed level through the second half, it was not short of excitement, as both Arlotti and Saavas both earned good looks on net in the 51st and 55th minutes, respectively. The Crimson was able to keep up the pressure until the very end, as Harvard had five shots and three corner kicks through the final 20 minutes of the match, as well as an impressive defensive stop in the final 10 seconds, as Terrier goalkeeper Francesco Montali fired a last-second penalty shot into the box.
Arlotti now leads the team with 10 points and three goals. He has 17 career goals and 52 career points. Wood, after adding two saves in this game, now has 35 saves total on the year. Harvard led the Terriers in shots and corner kicks, although both teams had a total of three shots on goal.
v. Brown, 0-0
Against Ivy League rival Brown, Wood earned his second shutout of the 2023 season with five saves against a strong Brown team.
The Bears had most of the shots in the first half, outshooting the Crimson 12-1. Brown senior Charlie Adams took a shot on goal in the 19th minute to force a diving save from Wood, followed by sophomore Jamin Gogo Peter’s in the 26th. Wood made another incredible stop from close-range in the 32nd as two Brown players, Peters and sophomore Langdon Gryglas tested him to close out the first half.
Harvard brought the pressure out of the halftime break, with senior Nik White aiming a shot on target off of a volley in the 51st, forcing the Bears’ senior goalkeeper Hudson Blatteis to make a save. Later, in the 75th, White struck again, heading a fast ball towards the net that Blatteis had to quickly collect.
Wood denied the Bears’ last shot of the game in the 87th minute off the foot of senior Scott Gustafson, while Arlotti fired a rocket in the 89th that missed just wide left to end the game even at 0-0. Harvard outpaced Brown in the second half 2-1 with shots on goal and 7-3 in corner kicks, with each team taking seven shots through the same period.
Wood’s five saves marked the third time this season that he has made five or more saves in a game. His performance was supported by the work of White, junior Jan Riecke, and sophomore Ethan Veghte, who each played the full 90 minutes. White led the team against Brown with four shots and two on goal.
Harvard aims to make the Ivy League Tournament at the end of the regular season and currently stands in first place with a 2-0-2 record in conference play.
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