Men’s Soccer Draws with Massachusetts, 1-1 (2ot), in Season Opener

Men’s Soccer Draws with Massachusetts, 1-1 (2ot), in Season Opener

Hiroki Kobayashi netted the first goal of the season for the Crimson (Gil Talbot).

Video: Kobayashi's Game-Tying Goal

AMHERST, Mass. –
Sophomore forward Hiroki Kobayashi netted the game-tying goal in the 22nd minute as the Harvard men's soccer team played to a 1-1 (2ot) draw in its season opener at Massachusetts Friday in a non-conference match. The Crimson denied the Minutemen their third straight win to start the season.  


Harvard came out of the gate sprinting as Kobayashi collected a long ball in the box in the first minute of play but was unable to turn to goal with the probing pass. The teams fought for possession through the opening minutes, but it was the Crimson with the edge in pressure, as Harvard ended the half with a 5-0 advantage in corners. 

The host Minutemen drew first blood before the midway point of the first as Connor Devivo snuck a pass behind the Crimson defense that Josh Schwartz took a touch on and slid past goalie Evan Mendez for a 1-0 lead in the 18th minute. Harvard upped the pressure and nearly knotted the game at one just minutes later as Zach Wolfenzon struck a header that lofted over the UMass goalie only to hit the crossbar and be cleared. 

The Crimson didn't wait much longer to even the score, netting its first goal of the season in the 22nd minute. Kobayashi collected a ball outside the box on the right side of the goal, touched it to his left foot and curled a shot into the opposite upper 90 to knot the score at 1-1. Both teams tightened up through the back end of the first half and the first stanza ended with the score tied.

The Crimson methodically wore down the Minutemen in the second half as Harvard controlled possession and outshot the hosts, 8-2, in the stanza. Kyle Henderson put a pair of shots on frame in the second half and Wolfenzon nearly converted a header in the 88th minute but UMass goalie Brian Frame was there to keep the score tied through regulation. Henderson was responsible for the only shot between the two teams in the first overtime and Michael Innocenzi had a pair of good looks to start the second extra period. Massachusetts had one final look at the game-winner but the poised rookie Mendez parried the attempt away from goal to secure the 1-1 final.

Harvard held the edge in nearly every statistical area, outshooting the Minutemen, 19-10, for the game and holding an 8-4 edge in corner kicks. Mendez needed just three saves to record a result in his first collegiate start. 

The squad is back in action Sunday as it heads across town to take on non-conference rival Northeastern in a 2 p.m., showdown.