The Crimson finish with 11 wins for the first time since 2009. (Penny Ashford)
PHILADELPHIA – It took nearly 90 minutes, but the Harvard men's soccer team upended Penn at Rhodes Field on Saturday, 1-0, thanks to a Christian Sady marker in traffic with just 24 seconds left. The Crimson improves to 11-4-2 (4-1-2 Ivy), its best regular-season finish since 2009, while the Quakers fall to 6-9-2 (2-3-2 Ivy).
Sady's last-minute shot in a scrum in front of the net was Harvard's 13th of the night and just its second on goal. Penn tested the Crimson back line, which has been so sturdy all year, with 20 shots, eight of which found their way to Evan Mendez. The junior keeper saved all eight tries – a season-high – to earn his fourth clean sheet of the year. His 56 saves in 2014 is a career-best, topping the 46 he turned aside as a freshman in 2012.
The first half of the evening moved along at a clip, with both teams pressuring the offensive third. Mendez got his mitts on an early Penn header, and Kyle Henderson nearly got one by Max Polkinhorne as two of the better chances. After Mendez made his fifth save of the first half with under three minutes remaining, Andrew Wheeler-Omiunu and Jake Freeman both sent shots high and wide of the net to close out the first stanza as the two clubs went to the sidelines scoreless.
After a couple of tests on Mendez early, the Crimson settled in and was able to keep things at bay. Following a lull in action around the 85-minute mark, a scrum in the middle of the box resulted in the Sady goal, who was assisted on by Wheeler-Omiunu to put things away.
With the win, the Crimson concludes the regular season a vastly improved 11-4-2.