Battle For First Place Goes To Harvard 3-2

Leslie Perez (Photo by Don Clark, Yale Sports Publicity)
Leslie Perez (Photo by Don Clark, Yale Sports Publicity)

Miyuki Hino Has Goal And Assist For Bulldogs

NEW HAVEN, Conn. - Tuesday's women's soccer game between Yale and Harvard had everything you would expect from two teams battling for first place in the Ivy League. In the end, the Crimson made the key plays when it mattered most and escaped with a 3-2 victory on a gorgeous afternoon at Reese Stadium.

"For the spectators, it was a great game," said Yale head coach Rudy Meredith. "It was back and forth with a lot of action. As a coach, giving up three goals is something I'm not happy about."

Trailing 1-0 at halftime, the Bulldogs scored twice in a 6-minute, 9-second span to grab the lead. Harvard, though, answered with a pair of goals. Melanie Baskind scored the game-winner at 78:44.

Yale nearly tied it with less than 10 minutes left. Kristen Forster got behind the defense and slid a shot that beat Harvard goalkeeper Lauren Mann. Defender Katherine Kuzma, though, slid to knock the ball away just before it crossed the goal line.

"She saved the game," Meredith said. "It would have gone in."

The Bulldogs had three corner kicks after that but couldn't capitalize.

Harvard (7-5-1, 4-0 Ivy) has won six straight. The Crimson has Ivy games remaining with Princeton, Dartmouth and Columbia. Yale (8-5, 3-1 Ivy) closes out the season with Penn, Columbia and Brown.

"We'll bounce back, but now we don't have any room for error," Meredith said.

Harvard struck first at 29:41 when Kuzma sent a ball forward that Gina Wideroff outraced Yale goalkeeper Ayana Sumiyasu to and headed in.

The Bulldogs picked up their play in the second half and were rewarded quickly. Leslie Perez took a pass from Forster, raced down the left sideline and sent a perfect cross to Miyuki Hino, who headed it in from right in front at 46:50.

Becky Brown scored her team-leading 11th goal at 52:59 to give the Bulldogs the lead. Perez had a role in that one as well. She sent a ball forward into the box. After a scramble in front, it came to Brown, who banged it in.

"In the first half, we weren't connecting on our passes in the final third," Meredith said. "Then in the second half we hit on a couple of crosses and got the two goals."

The Crimson tied it at 71:26. Alexandra Conigliaro's cross made it through traffic in front and came right to Patricia Yau, who was all alone at the far post and tapped it in.

Baskind's game-winner came off a centering pass from Katherine Sheeleigh at 78:44.

The Bulldogs are back in action on Saturday, playing at Penn. Kickoff is slated for 5 p.m.

Report filed by Tim Bennett, Yale Sports Publicity