The Quinnipiac women’s soccer team lost their first game of the season on Wednesday afternoon to non-conference opponent Harvard by a score of 3-0.
The Harvard Crimson’s first goal came in the 10th minute when Alika Keene put the ball at the feet of a streaking Elizabeth Weisman. Weisman collected the ball in stride, took two dribbles to the right of a Quinnipiac defender, and touched the ball into the bottom right corner of the net past a sprawled out Jill Kelley.
The Bobcats responded to the early deficit with energy, looking to break up Harvard’s short passing game as well as create turnovers by pressuring the ball in the midfield. Quinnipiac head coach Dave Clarke was determined to keep the Crimson from finding the back of the net again.The Bobcat coach pulled back all of his forwards and midfielders, aside from one lone striker, to assist with the defensive effort.
Harvard (3-1-1) wrapped up the first half of play with 8 shots and a 1-0 advantage. Quinnipiac (4-1-1) would have their only 2 shots for the game in the first half of play.
Harvard found the back of the net again in the 66th minute when defender Taryn Kurcz, sent a leading pass down the right side of the field to a slanting Lauren Varela. Varela received the pass just inside the Quinnipiac box, outran a Quinnipiac defender and beat Quinnipiac goalie Kelley with a soft shot traveling across the goal and landing in the left side of the net for a 2-0 lead.
Harvard thrived on fast-paced counter-attacks, always sending at least three forwards towards the Quinnipiac net in transition. Meg Casscells-Hamby and Haley Washburn of Harvard worked in the midfield to distribute the ball, often working the ball back towards their own net while they waited for space to open up, and then picking the spots they wanted to attack.
Emily Mosbacher added another goal for the Crimson with 3:43 remaining in the game. She beat a defender with the ball at her feet, and rifled a ball past new Quinnipiac goalie Natalia Grodzki.
Harvard finished the game with a 13-2 advantage in shots.
Quinnipiac’s success in the young season can largely be attributed to the team’s defensive efforts. In six games the Bobcat offense has scored five goals. This is a statistic that the Quinnipiac coaching staff recognizes.
“We don’t have a natural goal scorer on the team. You’re almost trying to score by committee and unfortunately today the few chances you’re going to get we didn’t take,” Clarke said.
However Clarke believes that this is an area in which his team can work to improve on. As his team begins conference play Clarke plans to dedicate more time practicing set plays and dead ball situations in order to manufacture goals.
The Quinnipiac women’s soccer team next plays on Sunday at Sienna in what is their final game before conference play. Clarke hopes his team can use the game to build momentum.
“Sienna is more in line with what’s in the NEC with the level and ability,” Clarke said. “So it’s important to get back on a winning streak. I really don’t want to be going into the NEC on the back of two losses.”