Soccer teams fall to Harvard
In a game of championship proportions, Harvard stripped Dartmouth of its rightful share of the women's Ivy League soccer title Saturday with a 2-1 win in front 3,000 fans at Ohiri Field.
Even though the Ivy crown has found a home in Cambridge, there's still a chance that it will find its way up to Hanover this year. Dartmouth still has a shot at the title -- provided that it wins the final match against Columbia and that Harvard drops its final game to Brown.
Saturday's match started off right, and ended all wrong.
"We played well in the first half," co-Captain Holly Thomas '97 said. "But in the second half, I think we let ourselves down. We didn't play as well as we did in the beginning."
The Big Green jumped to a one-goal lead 19 minutes into it when senior forward Melissa McBean carried the ball down the right side, burned through two defenders, and poked one past Jen Burney in the Crimson net.
Harvard came back to tie the score 20 minutes later when sophomore standout Naomi Miller unleashed a long rocket from the Dartmouth 20. Miller's shot arced high and flew just inches above junior Annie Eckstein's reach before denting the back net.
"[Harvard's] first goal was kind of flukey and it was tough to follow," Eckstein said.
The score stayed locked at one apiece for the next 40 minutes of play as both teams guarded their turf and crowded the middle zone.
Midway through the second half, Harvard threatened the break the tie, as Emily Stauffer belted a shot from the Dartmouth box. But Stauffer's shot bounced off the left post and was cleared by the defense before any damage was done.
Dartmouth responded to the Harvard attack with a salvo of their own with McBean and Katy Hearey '99 taking shots from the outside the 18.
But without the offensive spark that Jenna Kurowski '97 had so often provided, the Big Green couldn't find ways to connect.
"Jenna's injury really hurt us up front," Eckstein said. "Without Jenna on top of her game, our front line had trouble setting up the scoring plays."
With 10 minutes left in the game, Harvard decided to go for broke as it shot the longball into the Dartmouth zone and popped a bouncey pass in front of the goal. Chaos ensued as Harvard's Devon Bingham posted in front of Eckstein and one-timed the ball between the posts to loosen the tie and settle the score.
Eckstein held ground for the Big Green as she turned away several attempts to up the Crimson lead in the closing minutes. She finished the match with six saves.
"None of us expected to lose this game," Eckstein said. "We entered the match expecting to win, and we wish we could play the whole game all over again. But we can't. For now, we just need to focus on winning these last two games and make sure we get to the postseason."
Dartmouth, now 11-3 overall (5-1 Ivy), is still hoping to earn an at-large big into the NCAA Tournament. Victories over the University of Maine on Tuesday and Columbia on Sunday would help their NCAA campaign.
Both games are at home.. Tuesday's game begins at 2:00 p.m.