Harvard will open its 34th season of women’s soccer by hosting Long Island in the first ever game held at the Soldiers Field Soccer Stadium, which is located adjacent to the O'Donnell Baseball Field and Gordon Indoor Track. The Crimson is coming off a 9-7-1 season in which the team won its second straight Ivy League championship and reached the NCAA tournament for the second time in as many seasons.
Last season, head coach Ray Leone and his squad boasted a 6-2-1 record on home turf, including a 3-1-1 mark against non-conference opponents, and is 12-2-2 in the last two years at home. The Crimson and Blackbirds have never met in women’s soccer.
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Weather permitting, live statistics will be available for Friday's contest.
The team returns nine of its starters from last year’s squad, including its five leading scorers In her junior season, Katherine Sheeleigh, a nominee for the prestigious Lowe’s Senior CLASS Award, paced the Crimson with 21 points on eight goals, including four game-winners, and five assists. Melanie Baskind (4-6-14) also reached double digits in points, while Gina Wideroff (2-2-6), Patricia Yau (2-1-5) and Alexandra Conigliaro (0-5-5) also contributed on offense.
The Crimson also returns most of its starters on defense, as the team surrendered only 23 goals in 17 games last season and allowed only one score in the first half of contests.
About Long Island:
The Blackbirds enter Friday’s game with a 2-1-0 mark after earning a 1-0 victory in overtime over Hawaii Aug. 29. LIU also topped Hartford, 2-0, Aug. 21, before suffering a 2-1 loss to Cal Poly Aug. 28.
Ariana Calderon scored on a penalty kick in the 91st minute to lift LIU to its win against Hawaii. Jessica Sexton recorded six saves to earn her first win of the season. Calderon has scored two goals this fall to lead the team with four points, while Kayleigh Morgan and Nikki Labo have also found the back of the net with a goal apiece.
In net, Sexton stands at 1-0 with a 0.00 goals-against average, while Jennifer Bannon owns a 1-1 mark with a 1.33 goals-against average and three saves in two games.
Katherine Sheeleigh enters her senior season tied for seventh in program history with 22 goals and ranks ninth with 54 points.
The Crimson owns a 21-9-3 all-time record in season openers and stands 0-1-2 in openers under current head coach Ray Leone.
Seniors Katherine Sheeleigh and Gina Wideroff will serve as co-captains this fall. Wideroff was also a co-captain of the Crimson last season.
The Crimson will visit New Hampshire Sunday, Sept. 5 for a non-conference game beginning at 1 p.m. Harvard will then make a trip to Florida for games at Central Florida (Sept. 10) and South Florida (Sept. 12). The team will return home to host Boston University (Sept. 16) and Rhode Island (Sept. 17) in back-to-back games with the contest against the Rams taking place at Soldiers Field Soccer Stadium.