The Crimson claimed a 1-0 victory over San Francisco on Friday night to open 2014. (Photo: Harvard Athletic Communications)
CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – The Harvard women's soccer team extended its regular-season unbeaten streak to 15 games on Friday with a 1-0 win over the University of San Francisco at Soldiers Field Soccer Complex. The difference-maker for the Crimson came off the foot of freshman Dani Stollar 36 minutes into the game. The Crimson, which relied on its stout defense against USF, opens up the 2014 season with a 1-0-0 record, while the Dons fall to 2-2-1 on the year.
Harvard and USF, meeting for the second time in as many years, battled back-and-forth for much of the contest on Friday night, but it was the home side which did most of the attacking. Margaret Purce alone accounted for four of the game's first six shots, narrowly missing the mark for an early score.
Senior co-captain Marie Margolius earned a nice chance after a USF substitution, but the Dons' Madalyn Schiffel was there for the stop. USF had a couple of chances develop throughout the game's first 45 minutes, but the stingy Harvard back line kept things tight, keeping the ball at least at midfield much of the time, while clearing out any of the Dons' attempts down low.
After a foul gave Harvard what was essentially a shortened corner 35 minutes in, co-captain Meg Casscells-Hamby sent a rolling pass to Purce, laying the groundwork for the game's only tally. Purce sent a laser cross, which was headed down by Margolius in the box, where Stollar neatly picked up the pieces and found the back of the net to give the Crimson a 1-0 lead on her first career goal.
San Francisco came out firing in the second half, sending two shots on target, but Lizzie Durack and the defense in front of her stepped up to the challenge. Though the Crimson wasn't letting anything get through, USF still mustered an attack as the minutes wound down. After a fair amount of play at midfield, the Crimson eventually finished things off, keeping USF off the board until the final horn had sounded.
With the win, Harvard (1-0-0, 0-0-0 Ivy) looks to carry its momentum forward ahead of its date with Providence at 1 p.m. on Sunday in Rhode Island.