The Crimson improve to 2-3 in 2014, after moving to 2-0 at home. (Gil Talbot)
CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – Four different Crimson found the back of the net on Friday afternoon as the Harvard men's soccer team found its rhythm and with it a 4-1 victory over Hartford at Ohiri Field. The Crimson, which enjoyed its highest point total since the 2009 season opener, moves to 2-3 on the year with its second consecutive win at home. The Hawks drop to 3-2-1 after their second defeat in a row.
A total of seven Crimson etched in their first points of the season, including first-marks from Hiroki Kobayashi, Oliver White, Mark Ashby, and David Barna. Sam Brown, Andrew Wheeler-Omiunu, Tyler Savitsky and Nate Devine all recorded assists for the surging Crimson.
In between the pipes, Evan Mendez came up big for Harvard, turning aside six shots, while allowing just one goal, a header off a setpiece in the second half.
Kobayashi got things rolling for Harvard in the early going with a flying header of his own. After Savitsky sent in a long cross, Wheeler-Omiunu kicked a short pass directly into Kobayashi's path. The senior dove forward, sending in a directed header just out of reach of David MacKinnon to give the Crimson a 1-0 lead just 7:03 into the contest.
Things settled down for both sides a bit throughout the first, with each earning and taking some chances. Hartford nearly evened the ledger with a tricky free kick in the box; Javoni Simms tried to catch the Crimson off guard with a quick strike, but Mendez was there for the diving effort to prevent the score.
With under 10 minutes remaining in the first, Oliver White capitalized off a 2-on-1 rush. Savitsky came up with a loose ball to start the action, feeding it to White who beat the keeper with ease to lift Harvard to a 2-0 lead into the break with momentum.
Just 10 minutes into the second half, however, Hartford struck off a setpiece, as Connor Yeaney headed in a deep Javoni Simms corner kick. Yeaney cooled the Crimson's steam for a time, but not four minutes passed until Ashby extended the lead. After a short corner delivered by Matt Sheeleigh, Christian Sady fed the ball into the box where Tim Schmoll was standing tall to connect with the first header. From there, Ashby quickly kept things moving with a purposeful redirection straight past MacKinnon for the score, the first of the junior captain's career.
In the 72nd minute, senior David Barna registered his first score of the year with a quick play in the box. After Devine corralled and sent in the ball, Savitsky set Barna up with a touch pass, firing one past Scott McKirgan to put the Crimson up 4-1.
With the win, Harvard looks to continue its success with two more home games in a row, starting with a 3 p.m. showdown at Ohiri Field on Sunday versus Manhattan.