Mendez came up with three saves in the losing effort at No. 9 Georgetown on Friday in the season-opener. (Photo: Gil Talbot)
WASHINGTON – Up against one of the stronger teams in the nation, the Harvard men's soccer team put together a solid effort against No. 9 Georgetown at Shaw Field, but the Crimson ultimately fell to the Hoyas, 2-0. The Crimson starts the year 0-1-0, while GU picks up its first win of the young season and moves to 1-0-2.
"Georgetown is a very dynamic, and well coached team," said Pieter Lehrer, the Virginia B. and James O. Welch, Jr. '52 Head Coach for Men's Soccer. "We knew how strong they were going to be. With it being our first game, we did a lot of things really well; the effort and commitment was strong for 90 minutes. We will review the film and look to get prepared for George Washington."
The hosts on the Hilltop asserted themselves early, combining a stingy defense and pressing attack. The Hoyas fired an early shot on junior Evan Mendez off a set piece, but the Crimson keeper was there for the early save. After a pair of shots on target over the next 10 minutes, GU finally capitalized with a shot from Tyler Rudy to put the Hoyas up 1-0.
Harvard nearly evened the ledger a few minutes later thanks to confusion from the Georgetown back line. Junior co-captain Mark Ashby nearly found the back of the net, but his shot sailed just wide. On the other side of the field, the Crimson defense took its turn to step up. Daniel Smith corralled a shot on target, sending a header out of the box to clear the line. On the ensuing corner, the Crimson cleared another shot off the line, this time sending back a diving header from Alex Muyl.
After the break, the Georgetown offense kept its pace, but the Harvard defense and the mitts of Mendez kept the Hoyas off the board. GU peppered the Crimson at the 72 minute mark, but had four consecutive shots blocked away. But in the 86th minute, Arun Basuljevic corralled a one-touch pass in the low corner to give the Hoyas a commanding 2-0 lead.
Freshman forward Tyler Savitsky nearly got one back for the Crimson, but Tomas Gomez was there for the his third and final save to hand Harvard the 2-0. The Crimson is back at it in the District on Sunday with a visit to George Washington at 1 p.m.