Kanten led the way with three points, including two goals for the Crimson (Gil Talbot)
PRINCETON, N.J. – The Harvard women's soccer team extended its Ivy League unbeaten streak to 13 on Saturday, but it wasn't with ease as the Crimson (9-3-2, 4-0-1 Ivy) narrowly escaped with a 5-4 win over the Tigers (5-5-3, 2-2-1 Ivy) at Stevenson Field. The two squads combined for seven of their nine goals in a wild second half, capped off with a Margaret Purce penalty kick in the 81st minute.
Bethany Kanten paced the Crimson with two goals, both in the flurry of the second half, while Purce, Dani Stollar and Joan Fleischman also found the back of the net for Harvard. Princeton's Tyler Lussi, the Ivy League leader with 11 goals coming into the game, registered a hat trick for the Tigers in the losing effort.
In net, Lizzie Durack went the distance, and though four goals snuck by, the sophomore came up with four crucial saves to earn her fourth win (4-1-2) of the year. On the reverse end of the field, Hannah Winner picked up the decision for Princeton, allowing the five goals on seven shots on target.
Princeton got on the board quite early on Saturday as Lussi was on the receiving end of a short pass in the box, able to one-touch it past Durack to put the Tigers up 1-0 just 1:18 into the contest. A lot of back-and-forth transpired in the middle of the stanza, but Dani Stollar put in the equalizer in thrilling fashion to end the second. Kanten rocketed in a free kick with just a few ticks on the clock, where Stollar was able to get a body on the cross and send it in at 44:57 to give Harvard some much-needed momentum into the half.
Kanten kept up the pace just a couple of minutes into the start of the second with an unassisted beauty on a free kick. As she has been prone to do, Kanten launched the free shot with extreme accuracy, this time finding the back of the net from 25 yards out.
Lussi, however, flipped the script shortly after. The sophomore completed the hat trick within eight minutes. First, at 52:42, Lussi beat Durack on a touch in the box, then came back to put the Tigers ahead at the 61-minute mark with a good effort from the top of the box.
Not two minutes later, Fleischman evened the ledger again. After Erika Garcia was quick with the ball in the box, she handed it off to Purce, who sent a cross along the endline, where Fleischman was able to get a foot on it to redirect into the back of the net.
Having the offensive game of her career, Kanten added to her scoresheet with yet another free kick goal. This time, the senior fired in a 30-yard arcing kick to where no one could get to it before it touched the back of the net to put Harvard up, 4-3. With time ticking down, however, Princeton attempted a corner that eventually knotted things at 4-4. Instead of a Tiger getting a head on the ball, Harvard had an unfortunate own goal to make things interesting.
Purce, however, finished things off just four minutes later. The sophomore displayed her skill, firing in her sixth goal of the year on a penalty kick. Though it didn't seal the deal right away, Harvard's back line was equal to the task of stopping Princeton's attack. Durack came up with a big save right after Purce's tally, leading the Crimson to victory in exciting fashion.
Up next, Harvard, aiming for its second straight Ivy League title, focuses its attention on Dartmouth this Saturday, then Columbia on Senior Day two weeks from now.