Nov. 22, 2009

Courtesy of Harvard

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – The 10th-seeded Harvard men’s soccer team scored twice in the second half to defeat Monmouth, 3-0, in a second-round game of the 2009 NCAA tournament Sunday afternoon.  Before 1,312 fans at Ohiri Field, freshman Richard Smith netted the game-winning goal, coming at 30:18 of the first half, while seniors Andre Akpan and Adam Rousmaniere each netted a score in the second stanza.  With the goal, Akpan tied Chris Ohiri ’64 for first on Harvard’s all-time career goals list with 47. Sophomore goalkeeper Austin Harms earned his seventh shutout of the year, stopping two shots, one in each half.

Harvard (14-3-1) controlled much of the play in the opening half, outshooting Monmouth (18-2-2) by a sizable, 10-2, margin in the frame.  The Crimson earned two early chances, but shots by Rousmaniere and Akpan were snared by Monmouth goalkeeper Bryan Meredith.  Rousmaniere’s shot came off a free kick from the right side at 17:08, while Akpan bounced a shot through off a free kick that Meredith grabbed in the 25th minute.  

At 30:10, Harvard earned a corner kick and Rousmaniere booted the ball into the box from the left corner. Senior Kwaku Nyamekye headed the ball from the right of the net toward the middle, finding the foot of Smith.  The Crimson defender kicked a hard shot that rattled off the cross bar and back into the crowd of players in front. Junior Alex Chi batted a shot that also rang off the cross bar, before resting on the foot of Smith.  Smith aimed and lined a low shot that snuck through the defense and into the left side of the goal at 30:18, giving Harvard a 1-0 advantage.

In the second half, the Hawks almost knotted the game when Anthony Vasquez headed a shot off a cross pass that hit off the top of the cross bar at 66:45, before Harms was able to grab the loose ball.  In the 75th minute, Nyamekye snapped off a hard header  toward the far post that Meredith stopped with an outstretched save to his right, keeping it a one-goal contest.

Harvard doubled its lead at 75:59, as Rogers slid a pass to Akpan along the left sideline. The senior striker dribbled past a defender and took a hard shot that lined into the back of the left side of the net for his 12th goal of the season.  Eight minutes later, Rousmaniere extended the Crimson’s lead to 3-0 when he converted a free kick from 20 yards out at 84:05.

The Crimson controlled the final count in shots, 17-10, and corner kicks, 6-1.

Harvard will host Maryland (14-5-2), the defending national champion, in a third-round matchup at Ohiri Field Sunday, Nov. 29.  Game time has not yet been announced.