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Late Goal Pushes Davidson Past Men’s Soccer, 2-1

William Giahos had Harvard's assist against Davidson (Gil Talbot).

Video: Highlights and Postgame Interviews with Pieter Lehrer and Ashi Geberkidane

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. –
Clinging to a 1-0 lead with less than 20 minutes to play, the Harvard men's soccer team relinquished a pair of late goals, dropping a 2-1 decision to Davidson Sunday at Ohiri Field. The loss is Harvard's (0-2-0) second in as many games, while Davidson (2-0-1) collects its second straight victory.

Harvard's first goal of the season came midway through the second half after a wave of strong offensive pressure gave the hosts a number of good chances through the opening part of the second frame. Hiroki Kobayashi had a great look on goal in the 55th minute that slid wide, and Michael Klain also put a shot on frame that was saved by the Davidson keeper.

Just past the 60-minute mark of the match, freshman Stephen Yen controlled the ball and slid a pass to streaking William Giahos down the right sideline in the Davidson zone. Giahos lifted a cross deep into the box and a scrum in front of the net resulted in freshman Ashi Geberkidane nudging the ball in for the 1-0 lead at 60:14.

The lead lasted just over 12 minutes, however, as Davidson equalized with 72:55 gone in the match. Ryan Malden chipped a ball into the box from 30 yards out and confusion in front of the net allowed the ball to sneak over the goal line, despite Harvard's best attempts to clear the ball before it crossed the plane of the goal.  

Both teams were able to manufacture shots on goal with less than 15 minutes to play, as Harvard goalie Brett Conrad came up with a pair of saves and Davidson replacement Andrew Kenneson had one of his own. A brief lapse in the midfield led to the game-winning score for Davidson, as Chris Pettiglio found Max Pragnell at the top right of the box and Pragnell shot low left past Conrad with just 2:14 showing on the clock. Senior Ross Friedman put a header on frame in the final seconds, but Kenneson came up with the save to preserve the 2-1 final.

Davidson nearly jumped out to an early lead in just the sixth minute when an Alec Rotunda low drive found its way through the box and squarely hit the right goalpost before Conrad could smother the rebound. Conrad nearly had a goal of his own in the closing seconds of the first half when the senior lifted a free kick from midfield towards the top of the Davidson net, forcing starter Matt Pacifici to parry the ball away before the halftime horn sounded.

Conrad finished the day with three saves while Pacifici stopped seven shots and Kenneson blocked three. Davidson held a slight edge in shots, 18-16, while Harvard held the advantage in shots on goal (11-5) and corner kicks (7-1).

The Crimson is back at it Thursday as it travels to Providence, R.I., to take on the Friars Thursday in its first road contest of the season. Game time is slated for 4 p.m.