The suddenly invincible Harvard men's soccer team romped to its fifth straight win yesterday, decimating hapless Bowdoin, 4-0, at the Business School field.
The game finished almost before it started.
Against Princeton Saturday, Argentinian forward Mauro Keller-Sarmiento had twice dribbled past the goalkeeper only to miss the open net. Yesterday he was not to be denied, as he rammed home two goals within the first two minutes and seven seconds of the first quarter.
With only 38 seconds gone Michael Smith dribbled the ball to the right of the goal, forcing Bowdoin goalkeeper Keith Brown to cover the near post. He then slipped the ball back to Keller-Sarmiento for an easy score.
Before the Maine farmers could say "one potato, two potato," they trailed by another point. Sweeper Peter Sergienko booted a long pass to Keller-Sarmiento who threaded between two fullbacks, drew Brown toward him and slammed the ball into the far side of the net.
Keller-Sarmineto sprained his ankle later in the game and limped off the field. Later, as two teammates supported him on his way to the locker-room, he said he expected to be ready for Friday's Ivy battle against Brown.
The last 57 minutes of the game seemed a mere formality, as Bowdoin never threatened to mount a comeback. Harvard kept the visitors hemmed deep in their own half, peppering Brown with 24 shots in the game, while Harvard's Billy Blood faced only 9.
If Harvard had maintained the pace of the first few minutes for the remainder of the game they would have tallied more than 80 goals by the final whistle. However, the Crimson relaxed slightly with its two-goal cushion, and Coach George Ford freely substituted for his starters. Still, a third goal seemed inevitable.
At 17:02 of the first half, it came. Walter Diaz pulled Brown to the near post, then fed Andy Kronfeld who had over half the net to play with as he made the score 3-0.
Harvard's domination continued through the rest of the half. Michael Smith played his usual central role in midfield, and fullbacks Don Rung and Randy Nordland came off the bench to keep Bowdoin at bay.
Bowdoin began the second half playing as if Knute Rockne had stopped by for a pep talk during the intermission. Hustling with great intensity, the visiting 11 pushed forward for one of the few times in the game, determined not to be humiliated. Their efforts, however, went unrewarded as six minutes and 28 seconds into the half, the Crimson's Dave Stone ran the score up to 4-0. After the goal, a dejected Bowdoin lost its enthusiasm for good.
Stone's score began with a Dave Eaton head flick of a long chip toward the penalty box. The ball bounced from Eaton to Stone who banged a glorious shot home off the inside of the left post with the outside of his right foot.
Harvard now has 11 goals in its last five games. Goalkeeper Blood now has four consecutive shut-outs since Harvard's 2-1 squeaker over URI.
Coach Ford praised his entire squad after yesterday's game. "Smith was a stand-out, Duggan was strong again, John Sanacore played tough as usual. Defensively right across the line we were outstanding. You can say the same about the front line."
Last week's victories over Princeton (ranked 19th nationally) and Williams moved the Crimson up to 14th in this week's new England polls.
Consecutive wins against Brown on Friday and against number three ranked B.U. next Tuesday could pull Harvard considerably further up the ladder.
While the varsity soccer team rode roughshod over Bowdoin, THE Crimson J.V.'s crushed Andover, 6-1. The win gave the Harvard J.V. booters a 9-2 record on the season.
As Harvard gains confidence with every successful step such upward mobility does not seem unlikely. Gone are the days of missed offensive chances, of domination on the field but not on the scoreboard, and of frustration. Harvard's men's soccer team is on the move.