Sept. 21, 2007
LMU registered its first victory over a top-10 team in a year, knocking off #7 Harvard 3-2 in a rainstorm Friday afternoon in the opening game of the LMU Invitational at Sullivan Field in Los Angeles. The Lions, who are in the midst of playing six ranked opponents in eight games, improve to 2-4-0 while handing the Crimson its first loss of the year to drop to 6-1-0.
LMU entered the game having scored one goal in its first five matches and dropping its last two games against ranked foes. Back at Sullivan Field for the first time since September 1, it didn't take long to snap a three match scoreless drought. Junior Jawaan Delaney, making his first start as a forward, made the move pay off within the first five minutes. Junior Brad Stisser and redshirt freshman Josh Carroll provided the build-up but Delaney provided the technical finish, hitting a side-volley from 16 yards out that beat Harvard goalie Adam Hahn low to his right. It was Delaney's fifth career goal.
With the lead so early, the Lion defense was put under pressure for the remainder of the first half. Redshirt freshman Patrick Lane stopped three shots in the opening 45 minutes to send the Lions into the locker room one up at halftime.
The game picked up in the second half, along with the rain. The storm that had been scheduled to arrive early Friday afternoon finally started just as the teams kicked off for the second half but the Lions did not let it affect them, doubling their lead within 37 seconds of the restart. Freshman Rafael Baca made his way through the Crimson defense, firing a hard shot that was saved by a diving Hahn. The ball came right back to Baca, who fed a pass across the box to a wide open Carroll. Carroll's shot eluded the Harvard defenders and found the empty net for his first career goal.
There was still 44 minutes to play and the wet conditions meant no lead was safe. The Crimson pulled a goal back in the 62nd minute on a spectacular strike from Michael Fucito. Andre Akpan fed Fucito in the middle of the pitch, and Fucito lined up a 25-yard left-footed blast, rocketing the ball past Lane and in off the cross bar.
Harvard's momentum from its goal did not last long as the Lions restored their two-goal cushion just two minutes later. Off a free kick at the midfield stripe, sophomore Blayze Hanson lofted a ball into the penalty area. Baca and his entire 5-8 frame rose above the Crimons defenders to flick the ball on to sophomore Steffen Canty, who poked the ball past Hahn for the first goal of his career.
Harvard made things interesting for the final 11 minutes with a goal at 78:11. Alex Chi and Jaren LaGreca worked the ball down the right, crossing to Akpan inside the six-yard box. Akpan redirected the ball into the net to make it 3-2 and everything to play for down the stretch.
As the rain continued to pelt down, the surface became slippery and unstable but the Lion defense held fast. Lane came off his line to save a header from Chi on the final Harvard chance of the match.
"This is a great win over a very good opponent," Head Coach Paul Krumpe said. "I'm very pleased with the 90 minute effort our team gave today and look forward to building upon this victory with another solid performance on Sunday against Columbia."
Lane finished the match with six saves while Hahn stopped two for the Crimson. Harvard out-shot LMU 15-11 and had a 3-2 advantage in corner kicks.
The Lions host Columbia on Sunday at 4 p.m. in the conclusion of the LMU Invitational.