Second Half Strikes Propel Men’s Soccer Past Princeton, 2-1

Second Half Strikes Propel Men’s Soccer Past Princeton, 2-1

Daniel Smith put home the game-winner for Harvard Saturday (Gil Talbot).

After heading into the halftime break down 1-0, the Crimson utilized the momentum and the elements to notch a pair of goals, securing a 2-1 victory over league rival Princeton Saturday at Soldiers Field Soccer Stadium. The win puts Harvard (4-7-2, 3-1-0 Ivy) in solo second in the Ivy standings, just one point back of Penn, while Princeton (5-7-1, 2-1-1 Ivy) picks up its first league loss.

The wind played a factory early on in the contest, and with the breeze at their backs, the Tigers pressed for much of the opening stanza. While the pressure did not directly lead to a goal, the offensive push forced the Crimson to commit a foul in its own box, giving the Tigers a penalty kick less than 10 minutes into the contest. Cameron Porter stood over the kick for the guests and drove a low shot past keeper Evan Mendez for a quick 1-0 lead.

The Crimson did not let the early goal sink its spirits, however, as Harvard was able to fire four shots in the first half, including one that tested Princeton goalie Seth MacMillan. Harvard closed the first half down 5-4 in shots, but with two corners to Princeton's one.

The chances picked up considerably in the second half for the hosts, and a goal seemed imminent after a number of strong pushes towards the Tigers' net. The breakthrough finally came in the 72nd minute off one of Harvard's four corners in the second half. Senior Ross Friedman pounded a ball into the box and Philip Fleischman headed the ball down and past MacMillan for the equalizer at 71:12.

The Crimson made it known that it was not finished scoring for the evening, and just over 11 minutes later, the second goal came. Matt Sheeleigh collected a loose ball in the box and fired a shot on MacMillan from close range. The Princeton keeper made the initial save, but rookie Daniel Smith was standing nearby, as he buried the short rebound for his first collegiate goal. Harvard effectively killed the clock in the final minutes of the match, securing the hard-fought 2-1 victory.

Mendez finished the game with one save and remains unbeaten on the season at 4-0-1. MacMillan recorded two stops for the Tigers in the loss.

Harvard is back in action at home next Saturday when it hosts league foe Dartmouth in a 7 p.m., game at Soldiers Field Soccer Stadium.