Mark Ashby was strong in the air for Harvard in Sunday's 1-0 loss to St. Francis (Gil Talbot).
CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – The scoring chances were plentiful for both squads Sunday, but St. Francis managed to capitalize on one of its looks, as the Harvard men's soccer team dropped a 1-0 decision to the Terriers at Ohiri Field. The game was Harvard's (1-5-2) final tune-up before conference play begins, and it marked St. Francis' (5-2-1) fifth win of the season.
A great chance for the Crimson came just 1:49 into the contest when Andrew Chang lofted a ball into the box, but Mark Ashby's clean header slid just wide of the net. Brett Conrad came up big on an early attempt by the Terriers, blocking a shot headed towards the lower-left corner of the net with a quick dive. The guests were able to best Conrad just moments later, however, when John Johansson drove a corner kick into the box and Riccardo Milano headed the feed home for a 1-0 lead with 9:30 gone in the first. Another big save from Conrad with 22:16 on the clock, this time on a one-on-one chance by St. Francis' Viktor Bakkioui, kept the Crimson close, only down a goal heading into the half.
Evan Mendez took over goalkeeping duties for the Crimson to start the second half, and was tested early. A free kick from just outside the box off the foot of Kevin Correa dipped towards the top of the net, but the sophomore keeper was there to parry the ball over the crossbar. Ashby had another good look in the box for the Crimson with 33:02 to play, but the sophomore couldn't convert the header off a free kick from Ross Friedman.
The good looks continued for the Crimson through the start of the second stanza, and the hosts nearly broke through at the 30:37 mark. Chang punched a low corner kick towards the penalty spot and freshman Daniel Smith executed a brilliant diving header that struck the top right corner of the goalpost and skipped away. Mendez was called on to make another save late in the contest, and he did well to keep Fabian Suele's clean header from the top of the six-yard box out of the Harvard goal. Kevin Harrington had one final look for the Crimson, as he redirected an Andrew Wheeler feed with his head that just skimmed by the back post with 4:28 to play.
The Terriers held a slight 14-12 shots advantage in the game, and also had the edge in corners, 8-6. Mendez collected four saves in his clean second-half performance, and Conrad totaled three stops on the day.
The Crimson now turns its attention to league play as it travels to New Haven, Conn., Saturday for its Ivy opener against archrival Yale. The game is slated to begin at 7 p.m.