Harvard faces the best American soccer team in the college ranks at 11 a.m. today on Brown's Aldrich-Dexter Field. If from holds, Cliff Stevenson's Bruin team will run its unbeaten streak in Ivy and in overall competition to 25. But if Bruce Munro's erratic Crimson squad pieces its potential together, the 3000 Providence fans will see one of the Ivy League's biggest sports events of the year.
Soccer Up With Football
Brown is the only Ivy school where soccer rides in the front seat along with football. The smallest school in the loop, Brown has had trouble attracting enough football players to have any success against Harvard, Yale, and Princeton--bigger schools with more active and farther-reaching alumni groups. But a good soccer team needs only a dozen men, and Brown coach Stevenson has been practically alone in the League in his aggressive recruitment.
In contrast to Harvard and many other teams that rely on European and African students, Stevenson gets his boys from Long Island, with a handful from New Jersey and New England. This supplies him with players receptive to his equally aggressive coaching technique. The end result of this process is a strong. Well-conditioned team that is continually as rough, as hustling, and as anxious to win as any in the East.
Add to that several players who bring in great national skills, and you have a team that should be, and so far has been, unbeatable. That is why thousands of students and alumni--bearing a far closer esemblance to a screaming, bloodthirsty Cornell hockey crowd than an average Ivy soccer audience--pay a separate admission to get into Aldrich-Dexter Feld when the Bruins are at home.
Brown On Top Since '63
Harvard last beat an undefeated Brown team in 1963 when the last Chris Ohiri headed in the long goal for a 1-0 win at Providence. Since then, with the League title usually at stake, Brown has been triumphant.
The Bruins won, 2-1, here in 1964. Harvard took high hopes down to Providence in 1965, but a second-half penalty kick by Andy Kydes was the only goal the Crimson could musther in a 6-1 rainy day disaster.
Last ear Brown opened the season with a fluke loss to Weseleyan, then held prachtically every opponent scoreless the rest of the way. (Princeton didn't even get of a short.) Harvard played a magnificent game, probably its best of the last three years, but lost, again in the rain, 2-0. Fans are sill taking about the play that saved the game: a scissors kick by halfback Pat Migliore of a shot that had already gone over the Brown goalie.
Conditions Cripple Harvard
Today the weather conditions will probably be the same: rainy and sloppy, the conditions that are supposed to cripple Harvard's precision short-passing attack. But there are any number of different elements.
The most curious is the Brown team. Last year they were all juniors, plus a few sophomores. The captain was a second-string goalie. The whole team is back this year, including Migliore and wing Vic DeJong. Who have been All-lvies since their sophomore years. Also among the return standouts are goalie Bob Bernius: backs Bob cooper and Edzaglio: and forwards Ben Brewster, who scored both goals in last year's Harvard game, and Mark Detora, a big brother of Harvard's inside Bruce Detora.
Bruins Scored On
But teams have been scoring goals against the usually impenetrable three-back Bruin defense. Dartmouth and Cornell tallied twice each. Dartmouth and Cornell tailed twice each, while allowing Brown six and five goals. Scouting reports indicate that Brown has switched its playing style from a control defense with fast-break scoring potential to a control offensive. The halfbacks keep the ball in the offensive zone and should apply te kind of pressure Harvard has not seen all year.
New Offense Scrapped
Munro was thinking of installing a new offense to combat Migliore and a defense that Harvard has scored against only twice in the last four years. But Wednesday's blizzard cut the Crimsons down to only one effective practice this week and debilitated any plans for change.
The lineup also remains unsettled. Senior John Axten will start at goalie, but both he and sophomore Rich Locksley needed the work they couldn't get this week. Dave Wright and Bob Grey are set at fulback and face their biggest challenges to date against DeJong and Detora.
Azikiwe Possible Starter
Abi Azikiwe may start at right halfback with Captain Joe Gould, who can play either side of the fields, available to spell Azikiwe and left half Mike Sicher.
Scott Robertson and Gerry Montero will play the Wings. In the middle. Munro may alternate his trio of American hustlers--Detora, Bill Schaefer, and Peter Millock--with his foreign hot-shooters, Jaime Vargas, Lutz Hoeppner, and Ahmed Yehia.