Harvard Battles San Diego State to 1-1 Draw

Photo courtesy of Justin Ide, Harvard News Office

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – The Harvard women’s soccer team opened its 2009 season by earning a 1-1 tie against non-conference opponent San Diego State Friday afternoon. In her first career game, Caroline Albanese tallied the Harvard goal, while Lauren Mann made four saves between the pipes.

On a sunny day at Ohiri Field, the Crimson and Aztecs managed few offensive opportunities in the first half, as both teams played solid defensively. San Diego State managed the first shot at 18:34 when Megan Jurado picked up a loose ball in front and bounced it at Harvard goalkeeper Lauren Mann, who covered up and cleared. Midway through the frame, Katherine Sheeleigh almost put Harvard (0-0-1) on top, but her shot from the right side of the goal was blocked away by Aubree Southwick, who finished the first half with two saves.

In the 40th minute, San Diego State (2-2-1) controlled the ball in the Harvard zone and Gretel Amman sneaked a shot through several defenders, but Mann was there to snare the trickling attempt. Through the first 45 minutes of action, Harvard led in corner kick chances, 2-1, and in shots, 9-6.

In the opening moments of the second, Harvard grabbed a 1-0 lead on Albanese’s strike at 46:22. Sheeleigh, controlling the ball at midfielder, passed it down the right side to Albanese. The freshman dribbled in alone into the box and sneaked a shot into the near post behind a diving Southwick.

With 30 minutes to play, San Diego State capitalized directly off a corner kick when Allie Crowson headed Jessica Gordon’s kick into the goal, tying the score 1-1. Less than 10 minutes later, Harvard’s Lizzy Nichols fired a free kick from 40 yards out, forcing Southwick to leap to prevent the Crimson’s second score.

In the final seconds of regulation, the Aztecs earned a free lick on the left side. When the ball neared the box, Millie Allen got a shot off, but the ball hit off the post with two seconds left, forcing overtime. Entering the extra session, San Diego State held an 18-14 lead in shots a 5-3 advantage in corner kicks.

Melanie Baskind earned the first shot in overtime at 90:37, but Southwick grabbed the bouncer and cleared away. Patricia followed with a similar attempt at 94:18, but the Crimson could not find the back of the net for the golden goal. With 5:25 left in double overtime, San Diego State’s Cat Walker blasted a shot from just inside the box that rang off the left post, allowing the Crimson to clear.

Up next, Harvard visits Connecticut Saturday afternoon, looking for its first win of the season. The Crimson and Huskies will meet in Storrs, Conn., at 5:30 p.m.