Eight seniors on the women’s soccer team walked off Ohiri field last weekend for the last time, never defeating Harvard.
On Saturday, Sept. 29, the Bulldogs (5–5, 0–2 Ivy) lost their fifth game of the season 1-0 to Harvard (4–3, 1–1 Ivy) just over four minutes into overtime. Harvard midfielder Meg Casscells-Hamby barely outran a Yale defender and popped a trickling cross from Laruen Urke into the upper 90 to send the Elis back to New Haven without a conference win. From the opening kickoff, the Crimson brought their athleticism and one-on-one prowess to the table.
“They put us under a lot of pressure from the beginning of the game,” head coach Rudy Meredith said. “Our defense kind of bent but didn’t break.”
Similar to the Princeton game last Saturday, Harvard’s throw-ins posed a threat to the relentless Elis defense, especially in the second half. Every time the Bulldogs fought the Crimson to the outside, the ball would end up out of bounds due to a swift clear, resulting in either a corner kick or throw-in.
Despite incessantly pressing the Crimson offense to the outside, the Bulldogs did not give up a single goal during regulation. While Harvard fired a flurry of 25 shots on goal, the majority of the shots were from long distance and were easy clears and saves for the Elis.
“They were left with taking these 30 to 40 yard shots, which was a great testament to how well our defense did,” forward Anne Song ’13 said.
The constant interruption limited the Bulldogs’ ability to make offensive opportunities of their own, leaving them with only five shots on net by the end of the game.
“They were just a little bit more athletic than we were,” Meredith said. “We never got into a rhythm offensively and that was the key to the game.”
Skilled team play and quality chances brought about several opportunities for the Bulldogs to put the ball away, but the offensive rushes always came to the Bulldogs “in spurts,” Meredith added.
Opportunity presented itself to the Bulldogs in overtime when forward Paula Hagopian ’16 took a shot that whizzed just above the net.
Minutes later, the Crimson went in for the kill. Quickly following her eighth save of the night, goalkeeper Rachel Ames ’16 reached for the game-ending shot, but it was tapped just above her fingers and into the upper corner.
Despite putting shots on net and dominating opponents earlier this season, the Elis have had difficulty creating similar scoring chances in Ivy League competition.
“We weren’t able to capitalize on the limited scoring opportunities we had,” captain amd midfielder Jenny Butwin ’13 said. “There’s only so much you can do without scoring.”
To address the lack of scoring opportunities the Elis have recently experienced, the team will watch film, focusing on making the simple pass and improving quick movement off the ball this week.
“The most important thing is that we win and lose as a team,” Butwin said.
The Bulldogs will take on the Dartmouth Big Green on Saturday at 4:30 p.m.