Kevin Harrington netted the game-winner Saturday against Columbia (Gil Talbot).
NEW YORK – The Harvard men's soccer team continued its pattern of scoring two goals in Ivy League contests, as the Crimson shut out Columbia, 2-0, Saturday at Commisso Stadium. The win pushes Harvard (7-7-2, 5-1-0 Ivy) to the .500 mark for the first time this season, while Columbia (8-5-3, 1-2-3 Ivy) continues to look for answers against league teams.
With the win, Harvard ups its league-leading point total to 15, two clear of second-place Penn, who will travel to Cambridge next weekend for a 7 p.m., showdown with the Crimson at Soldiers Field Soccer Stadium. Penn took down Princeton, 2-1, earlier in the day to set up a winner-take-all scenario with the Crimson next Saturday. Harvard needs a win or a tie against the Quakers to secure its first league title since 2009.
The Crimson put the pressure on the Lions early, earning a handful of corner kicks and putting a few shots on frame within the first 10 minutes of the match. The Crimson defense remained poised through the opening frame, not allowing a shot to reach keeper Evan Mendez until the 36th minute of the match. Two late shots from the hosts sailed high of the goal, and the teams entered halftime in a 0-0 deadlock.
The scoreless drought did not last long into the second half, as Harvard grabbed a 1-0 lead less than five minutes in. Sophomore Mark Ashby ripped a shot on goal that the Lions were able to block, but Kevin Harrington was able to power home the rebound, drilling a shot into the top left corner from 20 yards out for his third strike of the season.
Less than two minutes later Harvard extended its lead to 2-0, showing its prowess on set plays. Ross Friedman lined up a corner kick for Harvard and Matt Sheeleigh was on the receiving end, punching home a close-range attempt at 51:36.
The frustration mounted quickly for the home team, and in the second half alone, the Lions accumulated a pair of red cards and a pair of yellow cards. The Crimson absorbed a pair of yellows as well, but was able to keep its head through the final minutes and secure the 2-0 shutout.
Mendez was called upon to make four saves in the second half and five for the game, as kept his unblemished record intact, moving to 6-0-1 on the year. Kyle Jackson took the loss for Columbia, while Luke Rossi also saw more than 40 minutes of action in the game.