The Crimson will advance to the NCAA Tournament's second round for the first time since 2001. (Elan Kawesch)
CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – For the first time since 2001, the Harvard women's soccer team will play in the second round of the NCAA Tournament after the Crimson defeated Central Connecticut State, 6-0, on Saturday afternoon at Soldiers Field Soccer Stadium.
Harvard (11-4-1, 5-1-1 Ivy) used three goals in each half to down the Blue Devils (11-6-1, 4-2-2 NEC) en route to scoring the most points scored by an Ivy League team in the NCAA Tournament. The previous record was held by Princeton, which defeated CCSU, 5-0, in 2005. The Crimson fired 15 total shots, sending 10 on target, while the Blue Devils were able to muster just five shots, three of which were saved by keeper Lizzie Durack.
Ivy League Rookie of the Year Dani Stollar, who tallied the game's first goal just 22 seconds into the contest, registered the fourth goal of her career, while both Emily Mosbacher and Margaret Purce added two scores apiece and senior defender Laura Aguilar tallied the second goal of her career to cap things off.
Stollar's goal at the 0:22 mark got things rolling for the Crimson in style. The freshman corralled a loose ball in the offensive third and did most of the work herself, beating defenders into the box, then making a slick move to create space, sent it to the far post, just out of the reach of CCSU's Nicki Turley.
Harvard kept applying pressure throughout the first half and it paid off just midway through the stanza with a lightning-fast run from Mosbacher up the left flank. Mosbacher dribbled around midfield, but then beat a Blue Devil to race up the sideline, from there, just beating Turley, low and to the far post as the ball dragged on the ground past the goal line.
From there, Purce tallied the first of her two goals of the afternoon with a lengthy play starting in the defensive half of the field. After intercepting a CCSU throw-in, Bailey Gary sent a booming shot down the field, where Purce took control just over the midfield line. From there, Purce used her acceleration to zip past defenders for an easy shot on goal that made its way to the back of the net.
Up 3-0 after half time, the Crimson didn't let up. Purce found success again just six minutes into the second. Meg Casscells-Hamby kept the ball in play with nice footwork along the sideline and fed a clean ball to Purce. The sophomore scooted up the field and put a similar shot on goal, this time beating new CCSU keeper Rebecca Lewis at the near post.
It wasn't long after that the Crimson earned one of its five corners on the day. Off the corner kick, Washburn found Mosbacher in traffic, who headed it straight home to put Harvard up, 5-0. Aguilar made it 6-0 with more than 20 minutes remaining, burying a low pass from Mosbacher from the corner. Mosbacher sent in the drive and Aguilar just needed to get a foot on it to pin it to the low-near post to put the Crimson far out of reach.
With the win, Harvard advances to the NCAA second round, where it will face No. 1 overall UCLA Friday, Nov. 21 in Los Angeles.