Senior Kevin Harrington had the game-winning goal for Harvard Sunday (Gil Talbot).
CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – After a quiet first half from both teams, the Harvard men's soccer team took to the air, heading home a pair of goals in a 2-1 win over Massachusetts Sunday at Soldiers Field Soccer Stadium. The win is Harvard's (1-4-1) first of the season, while Massachusetts (0-7-1) remains winless through eight games.
The Crimson had the better looks through the first 45 minutes, earning three corner kicks to Massachusetts' none, and firing three shots on net to one for the Minutemen. While Harvard was unable to put home a goal in the first half, the momentum was building in the hosts' favor by the time the whistle sounded.
It didn't take long for the desired end result once the second half got underway, as the Crimson jumped out to a 1-0 lead just 3:35 into the stanza. Freshman Michael Klain readied one of his lengthy throw-ins from just outside the 18-yard box and heaved the ball towards the six where junior Philip Fleischman headed the ball past UMass goalie Nick Ruiz for the score. The goal marked Fleischman's first of his career as he became Harvard's fifth different goal scorer this season.
The goal instilled a renewed vigor in the Minutemen and the offensive pressure increased with the one-goal deficit. The Crimson stood firm for a 10-minute span, but a fortunate bounce for the guests resulted in the game-tying goal in the 69th minute. A ball fed into the top of the Harvard box deflected right to the feet of forward Josh Schwartz, and Schwartz poked a shot past Harvard keeper Evan Mendez with the outside of his right foot, tying the game at 1-1.
The midfield battle heated up with the score tied, and Harvard had continuous pressure in the UMass zone, earning eight corner kicks in the second half alone, compared to just two for the guests. The set piece proved to be the answer for the Crimson, as a corner kick resulted in the game-winning score in the 80th minute. Senior Ross Friedman curled a ball towards the back corner of the Massachusetts six-yard box, and classmate Kevin Harrington out-jumped the Minuteman defense, heading home his first score of the season. The Crimson did well to kill the clock in the final 10 minutes, securing its first victory of the season, a 2-1 final.
Mendez picked up the win in his first start of the season for the Crimson, needing just two saves on the day. His counterpart Ruiz stopped six Crimson shots in the loss. Friedman has now provided the assist on three of Harvard's last four goals, as he dished out a pair of helpers against Hartford Friday.
The homestand continues for Harvard Wednesday when it welcomes local rival Boston University to Soldiers Field Soccer Stadium for a 7 p.m., showdown.