Yale vs. Harvard is an athletic rivalry that has been storied since the beginning of American collegiate sports history. The names of the two schools side by side on the scoreboard elicit ancient emotion from bystanders. Harvard opened their halls to students in 1636, and Yale in 1701, and their first athletic competition against each other was on the football gridiron in 1875.
Harvard came out on top tonight on this picture-perfect fall New England day. Peyton Johnson scored the winning goal off of a penalty kick to lead the Crimson to a 2-1 overtime win over the Bulldogs.
Yale entered the contest 4-3-2 overall and 1-0 in the Ivy League, with Harvard entering the game 5-4 overall and 1-0 in the Ivy League. Yale had just defeated Princeton the week before, and Harvard were coming off two wins against Pennsylvania and New Hampshire. Going into Saturday, Harvard owned the overall series going 27-8-1 and had won the last three matches between the schools.
Yale dominated possession in the first half, scoring a goal 17 minutes in. The goal was created by junior forward Kristen Forster, playing a beautiful left footed through ball about seven feet off the ground through the Harvard defense. Freshman forward Meredith Speck got on the end of it, rifling a left footed blast past the helpless Harvard keeper, freshman Bethany Kanten. Toward the end of the first half, Harvard put on the pressure creating a myriad of chances in front of the Yale goal. Yale weathered the storm and was able to counterattack on Harvard’s retreating defense for the last ten minutes or so of regulation.
With a 1-0 scoreline at the half, both teams would need to step it up a notch in the second half.
Harvard would get it going first, scoring in the 60th minute off a masterfully crafted goal by senior forward/midfielder Melanie Baskind on a cross by senior forward Patricia Yau. The possession was back and forth from then on, each team pushing forward on counterattacks. However, 90 minutes wasn’t enough for the two schools, pushing the teams into overtime.
Three minutes into overtime, disaster struck for Yale’s defense. A cross by a Harvard player was struck dead by the hand of a Yale defender, and the referee had no choice but to award a penalty kick. Sophomore midfielder Peyton Johnson stepped up and lazered the PK home, ending the game 2-1.
With the result, Yale falls to 4-4-2 (1-1 Ivy) and Harvard adds to their winning record at 6-4 (2-0 Ivy).
Quotes from Harvard Head Coach Ray Leone:
On the game:
“Yale played an amazing first half and we were hanging on to get to the end of the half.”
On school pride”
“Havard-Yale stands out on the schedule for the kids every year. Both teams did a great job tonight showing school pride and 110% effort to the very end.”