The University of Rhode Island women’s soccer team was dealt their first loss of the season Tuesday night when the Harvard Crimson stymied the Rams’ comeback attempt, 3-2.
Rhode Island falls to 4-1-1 on the season and has seen each of their four wins and one loss come by a single goal.
The Rams came on strong to close out the first half, but 11 minutes after the intermission Harvard senior Meg Casscells netted the game-winning goal to shift momentum back towards the Crimson.
Three minutes in Harvard capitalized as senior midfielder Lauren Urke sent a cross into the middle that was headed in by junior midfielder Brooke Dickens. Â The early goal gave Harvard some momentum as the Rams had trouble getting control of the ball and later paid the price for it. About 22 minutes in the Crimson exploited the Rams’ inability to take the ball away and scored on a laser free kick from senior Bethany Kanten.
The Rams started to get going after Harvard jumped out to their early advantage. Rhode Island quickly responded after receiving their first corner one minute after the Crimson’s last goal. The Rams made the most of it, as sophomore midfielder Nicole Brennan launched a kick towards the middle, where freshman Simone Hansen put it in the back of the net on a bicycle kick.
“We decided we would wake up,” Rhode Island head coach Michael Needham said. “I think it got under our skin a little bit after we had a great start to the year and we didn’t want to lay down and let it happen, so we stepped up.”
Rhode Island quickly scored again 34 seconds later on a shot from junior forward Ari Stanton that found the bottom left corner of the net. Donika Murphy registered the assist on the free kick.
“[Coach Needham] really amped us up and told us not to be scared and just go out there and do it,” Stanton said.
Crimson goalkeeper Cheta Emba was pulled during halftime after allowing two goals on four shots to the Rams. Lizzie Durack picked up the victory for Harvard when she stopped two Rhode Island attempts during the second half.
Rhode Island goalkeeper Reilly Lindsey picked up her first loss of the season, allowing three scores on five shots-on-goal.
The Rams will travel to Albany for a game on Friday evening before returning to Kingston on Sunday afternoon to open up a five-game home stand against Army.
“I told them that I was proud of them,” Needham said. “[I told them] that Harvard is a team that is going to be in the top-25 in the country; they have only played three games. It was an encouraging effort.”