The Crimson has won four of the final six Anciet Eight titles. (Gil Talbot)
CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – For the second consecutive year – and the fourth time in the last six seasons – the Harvard women's soccer team was crowned Ivy League champions, this time as the Crimson defeated Columbia, 2-1, at Soldiers Field Soccer Stadium on Senior Day.
This marks the Crimson's 12th overall Ivy League title since the program's inception, tying it with Brown for the most in Ancient Eight history. The back-to-back wins is the first for an Ivy school since Harvard accomplished the feat, winning in 2008 and 2009. Harvard's senior class has won three in their four years on campus, including two unbeaten Ivy campaigns.
Harvard (10-4-2, 5-1-1 Ivy) used two Margaret Purce goals on Saturday, one in each half, to propel itself to the victory over Columbia (7-4-6, 2-3-2 Ivy). In a chippy, back-and-forth affair, the Crimson led with four shots on target to the Lions' one.
The Crimson applied early, heavy pressure, but the Columbia back line stood tall for much of the first half. It was then that Emily Mosbacher made things shift. The junior sprinted down the field after corralling the ball, and saw Purce racing with her. After Mosbacher sent a short cross into the box, Purce had little time, but gave it a go with one touch, beating the Lions' Grace Redmon for the score to put Harvard up 1-0 at the 30-minute mark.
The rest of the first half went quietly, until Columbia sent in a precarious equalizer in the 43rd minute. Off a free kick, about 40 yards out, Coleen Rizzo did well to get a head on the ball, where Erin Falk tipped it past the Crimson back line as the ball trickled in past everyone.
With things knotted at 1-1, Columbia applied much of the pressure to start the second half, at one point earning three consecutive corners. But after Harvard earned three corners of its own, the Crimson capitalized on the latter of those. Free-kick specialist Bethany Kanten sent a corner directly into the six-yard box, where Purce was waiting. Purce was able to get a head on it, bending the shot to the near post past Allison Spencer for her second of the afternoon.
Now up 2-1, the Crimson played tough defense, and even nearly capitalized on more opportunities. Harvard controlled the pace and eventually settled things down to earn the 2-1 victory and the Ivy title in one fell swoop. Next, the Crimson awaits its destination in the NCAA tournament, to be announced on Monday.