Before the women’s soccer team could even get its bearings in Cambridge, Mass., Harvard had lit up the scoreboard and eventually sent the Red back to Ithaca with its ninth-straight loss, 2-0.
In what seemed like an instant, Harvard (3-8-1, 2-1 Ivy) knocked in a fourth-minute goal and forced the Red to play catch-up for the rest of the game. Cornell (1-9-1, 0-3 Ivy) could not find enough offense to even the score, however, and Harvard would reap the benefits of a Cornell defensive error in the second half that resulted in an own goal and a 2-0 lead — a score that would hold until the end — for the Crimson.
As the game began, Harvard went on the offensive and Rachel Lau used her head to place a Christina Hagner cross past Cornell freshman goalkeeper Carlyn Swensen.
“It was a wake-up call more than anything,” said senior Whitney Hughes. “We came out completely flat and it’s really too bad that it took a goal to get us into the game because it can be hard to play from behind.”
Needing to produce offense to get back into the game, the Red out-shot the Crimson, 9-3, in second half, but was continually denied by goalkeeper Lauren Mann, who had seven total saves for the match and refused to let the Red find an equalizer.
“Even though we didn’t have too many shots, she made some really good saves,” Hughes said of the Harvard netminder.
After experimenting with a youthful lineup against Bucknell last week, interim head coach Gretchen Zigante went back to a more experienced squad for the Harvard match that included six seniors and three juniors.
“Bucknell was really a trial to get some of the younger girls a chance to play,” Hughes said. “But this was a league game and I guess coach wanted to go with a more mature lineup.”
Swensen and fellow freshman Eva Dixon were the other two members of the starting 11. After her stellar performance against the Bison, where she scored a goal and produced numerous scoring opportunities, freshman Kathleen Bubrick came of the bench and tallied a single shot.
Seniors Jessica Snyder and Caitlin Oliver lead the offensive blitz for the Red with two shots apiece.
The Red remained winless since its first game of the season and kept it in a tie with Princeton for last place in the Ivy League standings with four league games left to play. The losing streak has not weighed too heavily on the squad’s morale.
“While we are very frustrated, we know that the season is not over yet,” Hughes said. “We still have six games to play and we will play every one like it’s a new season. We are playing well as a team, it has just been that kind of season for us.”