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Iona Topples Men’s Soccer, 3-0, In Season Opener

The Crimson totalted nine shots on the night against Iona (Gil Talbot).

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. –
A quick, aggressive Iona squad proved to be too much for the Harvard men's soccer team, as the Gaels netted two second-half goals en route to a 3-0 victory in Harvard's season opener Friday night. The win is Iona's (1-1-1) first of the season while the Crimson (0-1-0) remains in search of its first victory.

Harvard's up-tempo pace was on display early, as the Crimson manufactured a handful of good look in the opening portion of the game. A quick counter from the Gaels resulted in the game's first goal, however, as Ignacio Magnato sprung Samuel Adjei with a long ball down the right sideline and Adjei dribbled close and fired past Brett Conrad for a 1-0 lead at 9:52.

Rookie forward Ashi Geberkidane had Harvard's best look of the half, charging towards the six-yard box with the ball, only to have his low shot denied by Iona keeper Julian Petrello close to the halftime buzzer. The Gaels held a slight, 8-6, advantage in shots in the first half.

The Crimson took the field with renewed vigor in the second stanza, earning a corner kick within the first seven minutes and keeping the ball towards the Iona goal. The Gaels steadily swung the momentum back to their side in the middle portion of the half and nearly took a 2-0 lead when Maganto sent a dangerous cross into the box that was volleyed clear by the Crimson defense.

With less than 15 minutes to play in the game, the Gaels struck for their second goal of the game when Franklin Castellanos sent a probing ball into the top left of the Harvard goalie box. Conrad came out to play the ball, but was beaten to the play by Maganto, who collected, shifted to his left, and rolled the ball in for the 2-0 edge. Just 1:29 later, Iona capped the scoring as Castellanos collected a long ball over top from Maganto and curled a waist-high shot into the far side netting.

Harvard's first goal of the season nearly came with under a minute to play as Andrew Wheeler-Omiunu showed some fancy footwork to gain some space down the far sideline. Wheeler-Omiunu's cross evaded the Iona keeper, and Geberkidane's header skipped off the top of the crossbar and out of play.

The Gales ended the game with a 14-9 advantage in shots while both Harvard and Iona each had three corner kicks on the evening. Conrad posted six saves for the Crimson in the loss, including five in the first half alone.

The Crimson is back in action Sunday as it hosts Davidson in a 2 p.m., game at Ohiri Field. The Crimson will be hosting the annual Fall Fiesta during Sunday's contest.