HARVARD — Things have not gone well for Harvard’s Alumni soccer team in the early going, and it entered Wednesday’s match-up with league front-runner Auburn with an 0-4 record. But on a gorgeous summer night, more of the roster showed up and Harvard put forth a solid effort in gaining a 2-2 tie. Auburn is now 4-0-2 for the season.
Scott Nussdorfer scored both Harvard goals with strong finishes, while Matt Brothers and Jahan Khalili scored a goal each for Auburn.
The teams traded goals early as Nussdorfer put Harvard on top when he took a pass from Cody Osgood, broke in alone and slipped a hard, low shot past Auburn goaltender Scott Burokas to make it 1-0.
Auburn answered when Brothers ripped a 25-yard shot inside the left post to make it 1-1.
Harvard did a nice job of controlling play over the remainder of the first half, owning an 8-3 edge in shots on goal over the first 45 minutes.
They regained the lead shortly after the midway point of the half when Sam Peisch sent a lead pass down the left wing that Nussdorfer caught up to. He sliced in toward the goal and chipped a shot over an onrushing Burokas to make it 2-1.
Harvard nearly extended the lead but were denied by a key defensive play by Auburn. Brian Hunscher fired a shot toward the net that was knocked away by Auburn defender Joe Buckley.
Drew Tracey started in goal for Harvard, making a pair of saves before Caleb Frost came on in net.
Auburn had a great chance to tie the game in the final minutes of the half, but Brothers’ hard shot sailed over the cross- bar after he had broken past a pair of Harvard defenders.
Harvard had the final quality scoring chance in the first half when Ian Kaferle sent a pass on left wing to Brian Mandozzi, whose hard shot was stopped by Burokas.
Auburn did a solid job of reversing the momentum in the second half and controlled much of the action the rest of the way. After Tim Howard ripped a shot wide of the right post after breaking past the Harvard defense, Frost ( eight saves) came up with a great save to keep the lead intact. Buckley sent a pass to a wide-open Brothers outside the right post and he fired a shot that was destined for the top part of the net, but Frost leaped and tipped it over the cross-bar. Seconds later after the corner kick, an Auburn header rolled all the way past the front of the goal and wide.
Auburn kept coming, but another great opportunity was denied by Frost, as he stuffed a point- blank shot by Matthew Clementi. The visitors did a nice job of controlling midfield and kept the Harvard defense of Hunscher, Kevin Molinaro, Bryan Molinaro and Tim Smetana busy with forays into the offensive end.
Auburn’s extended period of pressure paid off when Allan Villatoro chipped a pass in front to Khalili, who scored from 10 yards out to make it 2-2.
With time winding down, each team had one quality chance to break the deadlock.
Harvard’s Keeon Tabrizi was well-positioned in front of the net, but his header was just wide.
Minutes later, Auburn’s T.K. Kennedy blasted a shot that clanged off the crossbar.