"We haven't the momentum we had last year," soccer captain Solomon Gomez said, "but we've only played three games. I think we will eventually develop it."
Harvard will need its momentum this morning for the Crimson faces its stiffest challenge of the season to date from Cornell at 10:30 a. m. on the Business School Field.
Although undefeated in three games, the Crimson has been pressured in each of its matches. Amherst and Williams had little talent but great momentum. Columbia had talent but no momentum. In each of those games the Crimson was able to get by on its, individual skill.
But Cornell has a talented line-up and lots of momentum coming off a 2-2 tie with Penn last Saturday, and so the Crimson will need more than a half effort to win.
Harvard, which has slipped from second to fifth in the national polls, has yet to explode against weaker opposition. Coach Bruce Munro has cited the hesitancy of the wings in the new 4-4-2 attack to move up the field with the offensive rush, but Gomez felt the Crimson's reserve had several causes.
"The 4-4-2 isn't really a new system," he said. "Sure you start in a 4-4-2, but the advantage of the formation is that you can switch into a 4-2-4 or a 4-3-3 whenever those lines are stronger."
"Our hesitancy isn't just because of the new system," Gomez added. "I think there are three things. First, the guys are nervous about defending the Ivy League trophy. That title means a lot, and you can tell that some of the players have been afraid to make a mistake.
"Second, we're all thinking about the national title, and that keeps us on edge in every game.
"And finally, our opponents know we're the Ivy champions and so they are always anxious to play their best and beat us."
Gomez's own solution to the hesitancy is to play every game as a season in itself. "I don't care what team I am playing or who the individuals are," he said. "I just think about what I am doing and what the team is trying to do."
The Crimson has scored only 8 goals in 3 games this fall and Gomez felt that concentrating too much on scoring had actually had a negative effect on the front line.
"In American soccer, you give all the praise to the scorer," Gomez said. "I personally would always give credit for the goal to the guy who makes the
Now that Bill Meyers is healthy enough to play, coach Munro has the unenviable task of choosing between the two fine goalies, Meyers and Shep Messing. Meyers, who started all last season, will probably play today, but neither one really belongs on the bench.
"We've got two such excellent goalies," Wilmot said, "it's a shame they can't both be playing.'
Meyers leads the Ivy League with a one-goal-per-game average, and Messing has allowed only two goals in four appearances. assisting pass. I enjoy making that pass to the scorer much more than scoring myself."
Also this fall the front line has run into several rough, physical fullbacks, but Gomez says that style didn't bother him at all. "I expect to be closely marked," he said. "And if I can get the defender to hit me, I'll kill him because he'll forget everything his coach ever told him about soccer."
On defense, the Crimson has given up two fourth-period goals in its last two games. At first glance, that might be an indication of the squad letting up, but fullback Chris Wilmot disagreed.
"The Columbia goal was just a freak accident," Wilmot said. "The ball hit me on the hip and went into the upper corner. The William's goal was a perfect head shot; they deserved the score."