Minutewomen fall to Harvard

By David Martin

Geoff King/Collegian

The Massachusetts women’s soccer team fell by a score of 3-2 for the third straight time on Sunday against Harvard, despite a strong two-goal rally.

The Minutewomen (3-6-0) fell just short in a game that saw them come back from a 2-0 hole midway through the first half off of goals from senior Therese Smith and freshman Kayla Austin. This marks the fourth-straight loss for the Maroon and White, a streak that started with the team’s 5-0 loss to Michigan back on Sept. 17.

Harvard (3-4-1) started the game off with its first goal nine minutes into play, thanks to the efforts of Katherine Sheeleigh. She fired a shot off of a pass from teammate Melanie Baskind low and far-left to beat UMass goalkeeper Emily Cota.

The Crimson followed that up with a goal just 70 seconds later off of a chip shot from Harvard attacker Peyton Johnson that just found its way inside the left post.

The Minutewomen began their rebound off of Smith’s goal at the 17 minute, 59 second mark. Her goal came off a sharp pass from teammate Ashley Hamel from 20 yards out. The goal further lengthened Smith’s scoring streak, which saw all four of her tallies come within the past three matches.

The equalizing goal came off the boot of Austin in the 22nd minute. Austin took the shot due to a timely interception of a Harvard clearing attempt by teammate Lauren Skesavage. Austin’s long-range shot made it past Crimson goalkeeper Jessica Wright’s diving effort, and the Minutewomen again found themselves in a promising position.

Harvard would not stand down, however, as it again took the lead in the 32nd minute. Elizabeth Weisman fired a shot from the left side that was redirected into the back of the UMass net by Melanie Baskind. The goal marked the end of the scoring in the contest.

All five of the game’s goals came in a span of 22:10, the first time such an occurrence has happened all season. The Crimson also out-shot UMass, 16-15, and led in corner kicks, 8-4.

Freshman goalkeeper Emersyn Pullan saw her first game action in the season early in the second half after a collision caused Cota to leave the game. Pullan came through within her first minute of official play, making a diving save to keep the score separated by only one tally. She made three saves total on the day and did not allow a goal in her first 40:09 minutes of collegiate play.

Cota has started in and played through all previous eight games this season for the Minutewomen. She made two saves on the day.

The Maroon and White seemed poised to stage another come-from-behind rally later in the game, as the ball hardly left the Harvard zone for the last 20 minutes of play.

The Minutewomen will look to end their winless streak against Charlotte at home this Friday. The match will mark the beginning of Atlantic 10 play for both teams.

David Martin can be reached at [email protected].