For the first 42 minutes of each half of the game against Williams yesterday, the Harvard women's soccer team controlled the play. But for the last three minutes of each half, things got just a little bit hairy.
Goals by Sue St. Louis, Laurie Gregg and Laura Mayer boosted the Crimson booters to a 3-2 win over the Ephwomen at Soldiers Field; and while for most of the game it really wasn't that close, at the end it was really that close.
As the Williams bench screamed encouragement, the pumped-up Ephwomen nearly tied the game several times in the closing minutes. Crimson center fullback Jeannie Piersiak, the team's only starter still in the game, cleared the ball from the goal area as the horn sounded to preserve the win for the Crimson.
"We took control early in the game, setting up nice scoring opportunities and containing well on defense," Crimson coach Bob Scalise said after the game. "But at the end we just seemed to let down as a team."
So the team's record now stands at 8-1, and its number one ranking in New England--sheared to just a singlepoint over the University of Connecticut in the poll released yesterday--remains intact.
The game started like many of Harvard's much easier wins this season, with the Crimson on the offensive; and its prettiest play came only six minutes after the opening gun.
St. Louis took a pass with her back to the goal just outside the penalty area and without even turning around neatly slid a perfect pass with the underside ofher foot to Gregg, rushing in on the left.
The striker-turned-midfielder-turned-striker blasted the ball into the net, but one of the officials whistled the play dead, signaling offsides.
But co-captain St. Louis lit up the scoreboard for Harvard at 8:17 of the half, dribbling around a Williams fullback and beating Eph goalie Martha Mealy on the right for a 1-0 lead.
The St. Louis-Gregg combination, not to be denied ust because of an offsides call, struck again at 24:27. St. Louis, with her back to the goal once more, headed a Sara Fischer chip to the right side of the goal mouth for Gregg, who pushed the ball past Mealy.
And then the first 42-minute mark rolled around. Williams fullback Julia Weyerhaeuser rolled the ball over the head of Crimson freshman goalkeeper, to cut the lead to a 2-1 at halftime.
Mayer moved in from her wing-fullback position to score what turned out to be the game-winning goal at 8:44 of half number two, as she took a pass from Gregg and drove the ball past Mealy high into the net. Besides scoring her second goal of the season, Mayer also turned in excellent defensive game.
"Laura played an outstanding game as an attacking fullback," Scalise said. "It may have been the best game she's ever played for us."
Reserve goalkeeper Susan Newell replaced Diamond with three minutes left. Before she could even get settled between the posts, Williams forward Jean Loew pulled her out of the net and sent the ball in at 42:34, narrowing Harvard's lead to 3-2.