An exciting Senior Day match against Harvard University ended in a double-overtime 1-1 draw for women’s soccer on Saturday. The Lions wrapped up the season with an overall record of 9-3-4, 3-1-3 Ivy, securing the fewest losses of the century for the program. Despite a successful season that saw Columbia take fourth place in the Ivy League, the Light Blue was unable to beat Harvard (12-3-1, 5-1-1 Ivy) for the first time since 2007, though it played the majority of the game with a one-player advantage.
Before the game, Columbia honored eight seniors on the team: forwards Emily Koe, Taylor Duran, and Bailey Peacock; midfielder Maddie Tamares; and defenders Reilly Lucas, Adriana Kuryla-Santos, Amalya Johnson, and Taylor Penn.
The matchup featured a highly active referee, who gave out six yellow cards, a red card, and called a penalty. Among the decisions, many were controversial, including the red card on Harvard’s Murphy Agnew, an offside call on junior forward Jordyn Geller in the 22nd minute and a last-minute no-call on sophomore midfielder Jessica Schildkraut’s fall inside the penalty box.
Commenting on the officiating, head coach Tracey Bartholomew said, “You arrive a little bit late or you go a little bit early, you get a call, and here comes a [red] card. … You know, I think both of us coaches were like ‘Wait, what was that?’ You hate to see it come to something like that because I know the quality of both programs.”
Just three minutes into the game, Penn knocked the opponent down inside the box, and despite junior goalkeeper Juliet Allen accurately assuming the trajectory of the shot, Agnew calmly put the ball into the lower right corner of the goal. This marked the fastest goal by an opponent on the Lions this season since their match against the University of Tennessee on Sept. 1.
Throughout the game, Harvard’s goalie Kat Hess made short passes to her defensive line on her goal-kicks, and Columbia pressed high inside the Crimson’s half to put constant pressure on the goal. At the 13th minute, Geller was fouled at the edge of the box, but the referee decided that it was a free kick on the 18-yard line. Less than 10 minutes later, Geller had another jab at goal with a breakaway shot that found the back of the net, only to realize that the offside flag was up.
The Lions’ equalizer finally came with 18 minutes left on the clock when sophomore forward Kayla Lee scored with a backheel flick off a corner-kick while facing away from the Harvard goal. Lee’s first career goal is a stunner that the Lions will remember for a long time.
“That one you don’t coach. That just magically [went in],” Bartholomew said. “It was a great opportunity; she was right in front. You’re not stopping that. It was awesome to see. It was a great tying goal to give us the energy we needed in the game.”
Three minutes after Lee scored, Agnew was sent off for colliding with the goalkeeper, a moment that was both exciting and worrying for the Light Blue. While the Lions were hoping to capitalize on the numerical advantage, Allen was injured with no substitute keeper on the bench. Sophomore forward Talia Tyler came in for Allen and played six minutes in goal. Bartholomew said that luckily, Tyler practiced on Friday in anticipation of a situation like this.
Throughout the rest of the game, Columbia dominated Harvard on offense. The Lions had 24 shots in comparison to just six from Harvard. In spite of the chances created, the Lions were unable to continue the scoring spree from last week’s 3-1 victory against Yale and had to settle with a draw against Harvard. First-year forward Shira Cohen would surely want to run back the clock to the 94th minute to take another aim at the goal before shooting; she was unguarded on the 6-yard line, and the shot went inches wide of the left post.
“It’s hard to tie that game. I feel, you know, that part: frustration for everybody in the program,” Bartholomew said. “Just how hard they were grinding, I thought we were gonna get one.”
Although the Lions couldn’t make it to 10 wins this season, the fans were still very happy with how much the team has accomplished, as they hugged the players and asked for autographs after the game.
Looking back at this season, Bartholomew said it was “bittersweet.”
“This year, finishing with three losses is the least amount of losses we’ve had. … That’s because those guys took charge after last year’s finish,” she said. “The seniors have meant so much to the program … and that’s the hard part of the game—you just don’t know what’s gonna happen afterward.”