Harvard women’s soccer closed out a remarkable regular season with a decisive 5-0 victory over Columbia on Jordan Field last Saturday evening, while celebrating its seven seniors—Hannah Gardner, Hannah Griffin, Lara Schenk, captain Jordan Di Verniero, captain Ava Lung, Sophie Hirst, and Angela Caloia—in front of over 600 spectators in attendance.
Griffin opened the scoring frenzy against Columbia (7-5-3, 3-3-1 Ivy League) in the eighth minute with a pass from Hasbo before assisting Caloia in the twenty-eighth minute for a 2-0 lead. Hasbo then struck twice in the first fifteen minutes of the second half to put the Crimson up 4-0, with the ball rarely crossing back into Harvard’s defensive territory at times as Harvard maintained possession for a majority of the match.
When the ball did cross into Harvard territory, the defense shone, with sophomore Jade Rose and Schenk pressuring any attacks by Columbia forwards. Gardner’s two saves brought her shutout count this season to four, and Harvard outshot Columbia 22-5. Lung put the 5-0 dagger through the Lions in the seventieth minute to round out the day.
The Crimson (11-1-3, 5-0-2 Ivy League) sits at No. 14 in the RPI rankings and wraps up conference play with a very compelling case to earn an at-large bid to the NCAA DI Tournament when it comes time for the selection show on Monday evening, despite not earning the conference’s auto bid.
The team’s last two conference games prior to Columbia were both thrilling comeback wins, including a 3-2 win at Princeton which saw sophomore forward Ainsley Ahmadian net the game winner in the seventy-eighth minute, and a 2-1 win at Dartmouth after a strike by junior midfielder Megan Mackey in the eighty-third minute.
Harvard’s last hopes of the Ivy League title were squashed when Brown’s final contest against Yale was canceled and declared a no-contest after a rise in Covid-19 cases within the Yale program. The Crimson needed Brown (11-2-2, 5-0-1 Ivy League) to lose or tie with Yale to win the conference title (in part because of Harvard’s 1-1 draw with the University of Pennsylvania back in September setting them back in conference standings).
Regardless of the conference title, Harvard’s season has been nothing short of stellar. The Crimson is second in the country in points-per-game at 8.67 and has outscored opponents with an average of 2.87 goals per game to opponents’ 0.80. Harvard wields a deep and balanced scoring attack—Ahmadian, sophomore Hannah Bebar, Hasbo, and Griffin all have sixteen points or more and five or more goals, and while Bebar was out against Columbia and likely will be out for the postseason with a leg injury, the Crimson has depth across all positions and has shown so game after game.
In the 2022 campaign, the Crimson owns just a single loss to Boston University, and otherwise has been undefeated, with a notable win over then-No. 17 NC State, well-fought draws with No. 17 Texas-Christian University and No. 28 Ivy League rival Brown, and many other dominant performances, leading to the Crimson’s first undefeated Ivy League season since 2016.
Last year, three Ivy League programs advanced to the NCAA tournament—Brown with the auto-bid and Harvard and Princeton with at-large bids, but Harvard ultimately fell to Wake Forest in the first round. This year the program hopes to return to the big dance and perform against top competition, and the team and Crimson faithful eagerly await their fate for postseason scheduling and will find out the bracket at the selection show on Monday, November 7 at 4:00pm.
— Crimson staff writer Zing Gee can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org