While the Princeton soccer players wandered about the field plaintively asking, "Where's number seven?" coach George Ford's Crimson squad came up with a pair of goals from numbers ten and twenty-five and its fifth Ivy League win Saturday, 2-0, over the Tigers at Princeton.
Tiger coach Bill Muse assigned tight man-to-man coverage to Harvard's number seven, explosive Lyman Bullard, in hopes of shutting off the high-scoring sophomore and with it, the Harvard offense.
"When one guy's doing all the scoring," Ford said of Bullard, who has scored eight goals in the last six games, "it doesn't take long before the opposing coaches realize that they have to shut him out."
Muse succeeded in keeping Bullard off the scoreboard, but his strategy, combined with a few tricks from the wily Ford, caused a good deal of confusion among the Princeton squad.
Harvard managed to keep the Tigers guessing by moving Bullard back to midfield and Mark Zimering up forward for 15 minutes in the second half, making the elusive seven hard to find. "It caused no end of panic; everyone was looking for Bullard," Ford grinned. "It was very amusing."
"They were really chopping me off from the ball in the first half," Bullard said of his shadows, "and the fast break was not working well at all. So in the second half Mark and I switched and it really shook them up."
Indeed, the bewildered Tigers began to muddle about the goal mouth after the switcheroo had been completed, and an opportunistic Steve Hines (number 25) took advantage of the situation to put the Crimson on the scoreboard.
The play started with Chris Saunders, who brought the ball upfield and put it out in front of the Tiger net. After a bit of a scramble and a nice cross-pass from Art Faden, Hines shot it over Princeton goalkeeper Sergio Zeballos into the upper right corner.
"It was definitely an Esposito-type garbage goal," Hines said yesterday.
The second goal, however, didn't have to rely on a befuddled Princeton squad. "It was one of the nicest set-ups and goals of the year," Ford commented. "It was really beautiful to watch."
Bob Thompson, playing one of his finest games at fullback, intercepted the ball in the Harvard end and chipped it perfectly up to the right side of the penalty area. Bullard outjumped the Tiger defender for the ball and managed to head it over to Eric Zager (number ten).
"It was perfect," Zager said yesterday. "He flicked it right to my feet as I was breaking down the middle of the field unmarked."
The sophomore striker took it in to about 15 feet in front of the goal and fired it into the lower right corner.
"It caught them flatfooted," Ford said with satisfaction, summing up the play.
The flatfooted Tigers could not put together an offense to rally from the deficit as the Crimson defense held tough for goalkeeper Ben Bryan's third Ivy League shutout. Bryan was hardly tested by the Princeton offense (which has produced only one score in five league contests) as he was forced to come up with only six saves.
The fullbacks, especially Ralph Booth, whom Ford praised as one of the standouts of the game, helped to protect Bryan. Also, Arty Faden playing defense in Zimering's spot at midfield for the first 15 minutes, played another of his tough games, making tackles all over the field to quash the Tiger offense.
Ford moved some of his other players around, playing Doug Stone at right wing for the injured Leroy Thompson for 25 minutes of the first half. The switches definitely moved the Crimson out of the semi-lethargy that afflicted the squad last Wednesday, when Tufts dropped the squad by a 3-1 count, for Harvard's second loss of the season against seven wins and a tie.
After a slow first half in which neither team controlled play, the Crimson came on strong to dominate the rest of the play. "It was a good turnaround," Ford said.
But while Princeton did not live up to its potential last weekend, neither did Cornell, as they lost to Brown 2-1. So the battle for the Ivy crown comes down to next Saturday's game between Ivy unbeatens Harvard and Brown on the Business School Field.