Remember Chris Papagianis, Felix Adedeji, Demetrio Mena, and Emmanuel Ekama? They're all former Harvard soccer greats. And now there is an American preppie making a strong bid to join this prestigious foreign cast, sophomore striker Lyman Bullard.
Bullard, from Andover and the Berkshire School, is the major reason for the Crimson booters 4-0-0 slate in Ivy League play, and a share of first place with perennial contender Brown. The high scoring forward has provided nearly all the offensive punch for the Harvard squad, supplying eight of the last nine of the Harvard goals.
The talented sophomore's scoring binge began when coach George Ford switched Bullard from halfback to forward, following the MIT contest that Harvard won, 1-0. Despite the fact that the Crimson sported a respectable record of 2-1-1, Ford thought that the team needed a more explosive offensive attack to become contenders.
Ford's maneuver was an instant success as Bullard scored the only and winning goal in the next game, and the Crimson blanked the highly-touted Cornell squad. Following the impressive victory, the Crimson booters proved to everyone that they were indeed for real, as they won three consecutive games by one-goal margins over Dartmouth, Williams, and Penn.
During this streak, Bullard accounted for every Crimson tally. Enemy goalies now cower when Bullard winds up to kick, and opposing coaches know that they must check Bullard to beat the Crimson.
Bullard's affinity for the net is respected so much that Tufts coach Jerry Clinton shadowed him with a zone in Wednesday's contest, and the strategy proved effective as Bullard was whitewashed, and the Jumbos triumphed, 3-1.
"Our offensive system is set up as a fast break system," Bullard said yesterday. "I play ahead of Eric (Zager) about 15 yards," he explained, "and Eric, Arty Faden, and Mark Zimmering relay the ball up to me on the fast break."
The modest Bullard attributed his scoring success to the good through passes of his teammates, coupled with a strong defense. "Our system is impossible without a good defense," he said. "Jeff Hargadon has broken up many plays in the backfield. He feeds the wing and then they relay the ball to me," Bullard added.
Bullard is very generous with his compliments, but he neglects one very key figure...Lyman Bullard. For although he has received help from his teammates, Bullard's strikes have come basically in one-on-one situations.
Alone with the ball about 20 yards from the goal, Bullard dribbles into position, and rifles the ball inside the corner of the net. His shot is so hard and accurate, that opposing goalies seem virtually helpless. Once in control of the ball, the success of the fast break is in Bullard's own hands--strictly individual effort.
Coach Ford compares Bullard to Phil Esposito of the Boston Bruins. "He's an opportunist. He takes chances and he's got a flair for scoring," Ford said yesterday. Assistant coach Seamus Malin added "the type of wide-open offense that we use is ideal for Lyman's natural style of play."
Bullard began playing soccer in the fifth grade, and he became so proficient in his favorite sport during his career at Berkshire that he was designated all league in the prep school league.
Selecting a college was not a difficult choice for Bullard, as the third generation Harvardian had watched the Crimson booters play since grade school days.
In his freshman year, Bullard captained the freshman soccer team in what he termed a "disappointing" season. Ironically, the sophomore sensation did not score a single goal in the entire season. A natural athlete, Bullard also played freshman hockey last year, and he would have an excellent shot at the varsity squad if he decided to try out.
But right now, Bullard does not think about hockey or next season, he thinks about beating Princeton on Saturday, and helping his teammates win the Ivy League championship.