"There wasn't much you could do. They just kept coming and coming. Coming from everywhere. And they just wouldn't stop."
--A Williams player to a shell-shocked Williams goalie
For a few brief minutes yesterday, the Harvard men's soccer team displayed an explosive offense, the likes of which are rarely seen on the Business School field. When the barrage ended, Harvard had scored three goals in the space of four minutes, Williams goalie Alex Keossoglu had been yanked from the game, and the Crimson had taken an insurmountable 4-0 lead.
The eventual score of the match was 4-1, but the game had ended long before Crimson manager Nonny Brown sounded the final horn. The Williams squad knew very early in the contest that its record would fall to 3-5-1. The Crimson upped its own season mark to 7-3, although a 1-2 Ivy League record could prove fatal to the squad's title hopes.
Yesterday's game showed the extremes of which the Harvard team is capable. Dormant and uninspiring for most of the first half, the Crimson eleven woke up with the second-half appearance of junior forward Mauro Keller-Sarmiento and played its best soccer of the season.
Crimson coach George Ford has recently been opting for a 4-3-3 alignment over the more conservative 4-4-2 which he favored earlier in the season, and yesterday was no exception.
Keeping Keller-Sarmiento on the bench for the entire first half, Ford put Jack Correia, Lance Ayrault, and Steve Higginson up front, and stationed captain Michael Smith at midfield, flanked by Leo Lanzillo and Don Rung.
This alignment succeeded in keeping the ball deep in the Ephmen zone for much of the first half, but except for Ayrault's team-leading sixth goal of the season, couldn't put the ball in the net.
Even Ayrault's tally was something of a fluke. A hard, but apparently innocent Frank RiCapito shot hit the crossbar squarely, and bounded out into no-man's land in front of the net. Ayrault picked up the ball on the first bounce and headed it into the lower left corner to give the Crimson a 1-0 advantage.
For the rest of the half, however, lack of co-ordination on offense hurt the Crimson. Lots of pressure, and lots of impressive individual performances just don't win soccer games, though, and the half ended with the score 1-0.
If that first half showed the unfortunate inconsistency of the Crimson offense, it also highlighted the brilliant play of the defense, which in the first 10 games of the year has given up an average of less than one-and-one-half goals per game.
The backfield line of John Duggan, RiCapito, Peter Sergienko and Denis Perez completely shut down the Williams offense, which only recorded seven shots for the afternoon. Duggan and RiCapito in particular paced the aggressive Crimson defenders with sliding tackles and steals. A quick transition from offense to defense by the forwards and midfielders also helped contain the Ephmen.
Apples and Oranges
Duggan also enjoyed a fruitful day on offense, recording two assists and notching a goal of his own for the highest point total of any player in a game this year.
His goal, which concluded the Crimson's second-half offensive spurt, came at 23:38, just 40 seconds after Smith had tallied to make the score 3-0, and just four minutes after Leighton Welch had scored his first goal of the season.