Ivy Schedule Opens At Yale For Men's Soccer

Ivy Schedule Opens At Yale For Men's Soccer

Ross Friedman enters the Yale game as the Ivy League leader in assists with three (Gil Talbot).

The Storyline
The Harvard-Yale rivalry continues in New Haven, Conn., this year as both teams will kick off their conference schedules Saturday. Harvard leads the all-time series that dates back to 1907 with a record of 51-37-11.  The teams' most recent meeting came Sept. 29 of last season that ended in a 0-0 tie.

Last Time Out
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 Crimson performed well in the air throughout the game, gaining its best scoring opportunities on headers. Daniel Smith executed a brilliant diving header on an Andrew Chang corner kick that banged off the right corner of the crossbar, and Kevin Harrington got a head on an Andrew Wheeler cross that just skipped past the far post with less than five minutes to play in the game. Evan Mendez played the entire second half in goal for Harvard, recording four saves in 45 minutes and keeping the Crimson within one at 1-0.

About the Crimson
Harvard opens its Ivy League slate with a 1-1-1 record over its most recent three-game homestand. The Crimson's first win of the season came in a 2-1 win over Massachusetts, and Harvard went on to tie Boston University, 0-0, before falling to St. Francis Sunday. The Crimson has faced the Bulldogs in its last five Ivy League openers, and holds a 3-1-1 record in those games.  

Harvard's six goals on the season have come from six different goal scorers. Junior Philip Fleischman and senior Kevin Harrington are the most recent players to net goals this season as each player scored in the win over Massachusetts. The team points lead belongs to senior Ross Friedman, however, as he leads all players with three assists on the season. In fact, Friedman has assisted on three of Harvard's last four goals. Rookies Ashi Geberkidane and Alex Leondis have netted goals this season, as have sophomore Andrew Chang and junior Hiroki Kobayashi.

Goalies Brett Conrad and Evan Mendez have been sharing time in net as of late, rotating halves for the past two contests. Conrad has collected 31 saves on the season, while Mendez holds the edge with a .50 goals-against average.    

Scouting the Bulldogs
Yale has not won a contest since its second match this season, but has kept opponents in check through most of the year. Outside of their 4-1 win over Sacred Heart, the Bulldogs have been within one goal in every game aside from a 3-1 loss to UC Santa Barbara. Yale has been shut out in four of seven games this season, and has only scored more than one goal on two occasions.

Leading the Bulldogs in goals (four) and points (nine) is senior Peter Jacobson. The senior exploded against Sacred Heart earlier this season with a hat trick and an assist for a total of seven points in that game alone. Freshman forward Cameron Kirdzik has played in all seven games in his first college season and has made an immediate impact. He has scored two goals for a total of four points in his rookie campaign.

Between the posts for Yale has been junior Blake Brown in all seven games. He has totaled 18 saves so far this season and brings a 1.69 goals-against average into the matchup with the Crimson.

Among The Ivies
Harvard has a handful of players that rank within the Ivy League statistical leaders heading into conference play. Senior midfielder Ross Friedman shares the Ivy League lead in assists with three on the season, and also ranks seventh in the league with 17 shots. Philip Fleischman and Alex Leondis are tied for second in the league with a .500 shot percentage, and Brett Conrad ranks third in the Ancient Eight with 31 saves this season.

Up Next
Harvard stays on the road for its next game, traveling to Ithaca, N.Y., to take on Cornell, the team with the highest winning percentage heading into league play. The game will take place Saturday, Oct. 12 at 4 p.m.