Any doubts that the Harvard women's soccer team was not the best in the Ivy League were squelched last night as the Crimson booters rolled over Brown, 1-0, under the lights at Aldrich Dexter field in Providence.
Ranked second in the league, the Bruins sought revenge for the two shutouts that the Crimson handed them last year. While Brown did keep Harvard from dominating the game, it failed to score.
"Brown was trying almost too hard to beat us," Harvard coach Bob Scalise said after last night's game. "Their focus was on beating Harvard, while ours was on playing good soccer and winning the game."
Harvard's lone score came late in the first half when tri-captain fullback Stefi Baum cleared a Bruin corner kick to sophomore wing Cat Ferrante.
Probably the fastest member on the Crimson team, Ferrante went one-on-one with the Brown center before getting off a shot on goal.
The Bruin goalie made the stop--only to have the ball squirt out of her paws--and Ferrante followed it up into the net for the deciding goal at 32:54.
The game marked Harvard's fourth shutout in five games; but unlike the past matches, the Crimson defense was truly tested. Also, for the first time this year--in the second half--Harvard was outshot.
"On paper, Brown was a stronger team; but we played a smarter game," Scalise said. "Conditioning was a major factor because even though they were pressuring us, we were able to beat them to the ball a lot."
In the first half, Brown came out kicking, hitting the goal post twice but never placing the ball in the net.
"I knew Brown would be super psyched, and we had to hold them for the first 20 minutes," Scalise said. "Then when they didn't score off the psych, it was a letdown."
Crimson basketball player-turned-soccer-goalie Wendy Carle played her first complete game, making four saves in each half.
"Wendy came out aggressively and just did an outstanding job," Scalise said.
Helping her out on defense was Baum, who had some great clears, and Sally Kingsbury, who shut off Brown's top scorer, Lisa Segbarth.
Harvard freshman Jeanne Piersiak, who played an excellent game against Smith last Friday, sprained her ankle in the first half and was forced to join tri-captain Ellen Hart on the bench. Both hope to return to action soon.
Overall, the defense was marking Brown tightly and kept Brown from shooting many potential goals.
"Today the defense had to come through," Scalise said. "Other days the offense comes through."
With a 5-0 record, the Crimson next meets crosstown rival Boston University, Saturday at Soldiers Field.