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Harvard continued its string of close matches, staying within touching distance all game but ultimately falling by a score of 1-0 to Quinnipiac in Connecticut on Saturday in a game in which the Crimson controlled the majority of possession and outshot its opponents.
Despite conceding only its fourth goal of the season in as many games, two of which went to overtime, Harvard (1-2-1) lost its second straight game, again by a slim margin. The game was the first all-time meeting of the two schools, meaning Quinnipiac now holds the edge at 1-0 in the all-time tally.
Despite the unfavorable scoreline, the Crimson held the ball for large periods of time and created a litany of chances, outshooting the Bobcats sixteen to fourteen and grabbing the edge in shots on target, with six to Quinnipiac’s four. Harvard also held the advantage in corners, with seven to the Bobcats’ six.
“We conceded fewer shots than in previous games,” junior goalkeeper Oskar Nilsson said. “Our pressure high up in the field was looking better as well but it's something we want to improve even more in order to create more chances.”
The Crimson was fouled fifteen times, while committing just ten fouls, which resulted in four yellow cards for Quinnipiac compared to just one for Harvard.
“We dominated possession for certain periods more than we've done previously,” Nilsson continued. “That's definitely something we want to continue to do and become even better at since it will help us break down opponents.”
The match prolonged a streak of close matches for the Crimson, with all three of its most recent games being decided by a goal or less. Despite dropping two in a row, Harvard has conceded few goals this season thanks to a solid back line, consisting of both experience and young talent.
“Our communication from the back starting from our keeper is what has enabled us to be solid defensively,” senior midfielder and captain Paolo Belloni-Urso said. “By having a mixture of upperclassmen and younger guys we have had the right balance of agility, experience, and leadership in the back.”
The young center back pairing of first-year Jan Riecke and sophomore Nik White has been pivotal for the Crimson, with White playing every minute and Riecke missing only ten minutes so far this season. The youngsters are flanked by seniors Havard Hjermsted and Fernando Docters, who add experience to the young core.
“We want to keep building our team chemistry especially with having two new classes, the first-years and sophomores,” Belloni-Urso said. “With that said, we want to learn from our mistakes so when the Ivy League games come around we will be in a position to be successful.”
Harvard faces a busy week, as it heads back on the road Tuesday night to face Merrimack in North Andover, Mass. at 7 p.m. Then the Crimson returns home to face Vermont at Jordan Field on Friday night, also at 7 p.m.
— Staff writer Eamon J. McLoughlin can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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