Sept. 17, 2006
Boston, MA - In a defensive struggle, the Saint Mary's women's soccer team played the Harvard Crimson to a scoreless tie on Sunday afternoon in the final game of the Harvard Invitational at Ohiri Field. The two teams combined for only nine shots on goal with three going to the Gaels.
Saint Mary's controlled the middle part of the game but could not generate any scoring chances and had to hold off several early and late Harvard charges. SMC goalkeeper Tara Larson made two spectacular saves to keep the game scoreless, the first coming at the 60:10 mark of the game when she laid out to stop a one-timer off the foot of Erin Wylie. The second save came with under four minutes to go when she denied a header off the head of Megan Merritt on a corner opportunity.
Larson made four saves on the day to earn a spot on the all-tournament team, along with teammates McKenna Belzer and Stefani Rocco. Larson also benefited from two saves supplied to her from her back line after it cleared a pair of scoring bids off the goal line during the game.
Harvard netminder Lauren Mann was called on to make just three saves but her last one was big with the clock winding down in double overtime. Belzer collected a ball at midfield with 10 seconds to play and dribbled through the Harvard defense before leaving a pass to an open Mika Matsui in front of the Crimson net. Matsui lined up a scoring bid but a kick save from Mann at the final horn was the final save in the defensive stalemate.
Harvard controlled play throughout the first half but managed only one shot on goal when Rachael Lau's liner in the box was cleared off the goal line by an SMC defender. The Gaels had their only scoring bid midway through the half when Belzer took on two defenders to the near sideline and sent a shot to the near corner of the net only to be turned away by Mann with a diving stop.
Three Gaels were named to the Harvard Invitational All-Tournament Team. Field players McKenna Belzer and Stefani Rocco were named to the team, and freshman goalkeeper Tara Larson was named to the team after allowing just one goal in 220 minutes of action.
Saint Mary's returns to action on Wednesday, September 20 when the Gaels host the San Jose State Spartans. The game between SMC and SJSU will kick-off at 4:30 p.m. at Saint Mary's Stadium.
All-Tournament Team:Katie Schoepfer-MVP Penn StateSheree Gray Penn StateAllie Long Penn StateAli Krieger Penn StateTara Larson Saint Mary'sStefani Rocco Saint Mary'sMcKenna Belzer Saint Mary'sLaura Odorczyk HarvardMegan Merritt HarvardKristin Kowalik NortheasternLaura Johnson Northeastern