Given the precarious state of the men’s soccer team’s net-minding these days – what with all three of Harvard’s goalies nursing (and playing through) injuries – the 2-2 double-overtime draw against visiting Fairfield (2-2-2) on Sept. 17 starts to feel like not such a bad thing. Factor in the sheer duration (110 minutes) and physical nature of the game, and the tie feels downright victorious.
Following a scoreless first half, freshman forward Charles Altchek notched the game at 1-1 early in the second stanza with a low blast past Fairfield goalie Andrew Frankel. Senior mid-fielder Kevin Ara, a first team All-Ivy selection, followed suit by sending a wayward shot by sophomore teammate Anthony Tornaritis through the net to take a 2-1 edge. The goal marked Ara’s second in as many games.
With six minutes remaining in regulation, Stag Mike Troy tallied the game-tying goal. And though the Crimson pressed the attack in the two subsequent overtimes – posting three shots on goal – Harvard was forced to settle for the 2-2 draw. Crimson goalkeepers Conrad Jones ’05 and Ryan Johnson ’06 combined for six saves.
On the road three days later, Harvard was dealt its first loss of the season, a 4-1 decision at the hands of Hartford. The Hawks blasted the Crimson net with 22 shots, managing three tallies in the second half. Giving Jones and Johnson some much-needed rest from between the posts, junior Jamie Roth – himself recovering from a strained groin – had nine saves against the hot shooting Hawks. With the loss, Harvard drops to 1-1-2.
Meanwhile, the women’s squad – fresh from splitting a pair of games at home (a 2-1 loss against Stanford on Sept. 12, and a 3-0 blanking of Maine on Sept. 14) – settled for a triumphant tie of its own at the Dartmouth Invitational on Sept. 19. The then 2-2 Crimson tamed the No. 19-nationally ranked Auburn Tigers to the tune of 0-0, to earn its first tie of the season. Harvard goalkeeper Katie Shields ’06 had a season-high six saves in the stalemate, while midfielder Katie Westfall ’04, who paced the league in assists last season, led the offensive rush with four shot attempts.
In their second match of the tourney on Sept. 21, the Crimson fell 1-0 to No. 8 Virginia. The Cavaliers – eventual champions of the tournament – scored the solitary goal halfway through the first stanza. Both teams managed nine shots on goal, with Shields picking up four saves. The women fell to 2-3-1 with the defeat.
The women’s team will host Ivy rival Penn on Saturday (Sept. 27) at 11 a.m., and cross-town foe BU on Sept. 30 at the more fan-friendly hour of 3 p.m. Meanwhile, the men kick off a two-game southern road swing on Friday (Sept. 26), when they face Duke, followed by a match at North Carolina on Sunday (Sept. 28).