NEW YORK -- The Columbia women's soccer team closed out its 2011 season with a narrow 1-0 loss to Harvard on Saturday night at Columbia Soccer Stadium.
Crimson midfielder Lauren Urke converted from 15 yards out in the first half, and the goal held up to propel the visitors (12-4-1, 6-0-1 Ivy) to an outright Ivy League championship.
Urke finished her chance to the left side off a beautiful pass from Meg Casscells-Hamby, who sent her in down the right side. The goal was the third of the season for Urke, and the assist was the sixth for Casscells-Hamby.
In the 33rd minute, Urke nearly had her second of the match but senior Lillian Klein made a stunning save while sprawling on the turf. The rebound chance from Urke was booted away by junior defender Isabel King just before it went over the goal line.
Four minutes later, the Lions had a couple of opportunities of their own for the equalizer. A pass at the top of the box ricocheted right to senior Ashlin Yahr, who fired a blast from eight yards out that was knocked back by Harvard goalie Bethany Kanten. The rebound popped back to Yahr, but she lifted her second shot over the crossbar for a goal kick.
The 40th minute saw Harvard nearly double its lead, as Melanie Baskind skimmed the outer edge of the left post with her blast from 20 yards out. The match headed into halftime with Harvard holding a slim 7-6 edge on shots.
The second stanza proved to be a defensive struggle, with both sides finding it tough to break through. Sophomore Natalie Melo had a chance denied by Kanten in the 52nd minute, while classmate Beverly Leon and Yahr each went wide with chances later in the period.
Columbia had one last opportunity in the closing moments, as senior Marissa Schultz worked a corner kick with under 30 seconds left. Schultz sent the corner into the box, but it wasn't to be as no Lion attacker could put a finishing touch on it.
Senior Lillian Klein concluded a stellar career with four saves, while Yahr had a team-high four shots in a losing effort. Yahr closes out her four-year career with 29 goals, one shy of the school record held by Tosh Forde.
Prior to the match, a brief ceremony was held to honor Klein, Yahr, Schultz, along with their classmates Nora Dooley, Megan Gallivan, Lindsay Mushett and Liz Wicks who played their final matches for Columbia.