The undefeated women's soccer team travels to Providence to battle archrival Brown this evening in its most important contest of the season thus far.
Harvard and Brown. One hears those names over, and over when talking to coaches, players, and other affiances of Ivy League and Eastern women's soccer.
In the three seasons since the establishment of the Ivy League Tournament in 1978, the Crimson has captured two crowns (the first two), only to be dethroned as league champions by the Bruins last season.
Brown, a perennial powerhouse even before the formation of the Harvard team, hosted the first Ivy Tournament with the intention of winning it in front of the home town fans. But the Crimson, only in its second varsity year, spoiled the Providence celebration by upending the home team, 3-0, in the finals.
In 1979, the Bruins had their chance to revenge Harvard in the Ivy Tournament at Cambridge, but the Crimson denied them that satisfaction, demolishing Brown, 5-1, in the finals.
A week later, the Bruins hosted the first ever Eastern Tourney with visions of a different finale. But, once again, Harvard played the spoiler, defeating Brown, 4-2, in the opening round en route to the co-championship with Cortland State.
Last fall, the Bruins avenged some of the sting of the previous losses with a come-from-behind victory over the second-seeded Crimson in the Ivy semi-finals. After blanking host Yale, 3-0, in the consolations, the Cantabridgians could only watch from the sidelines as Brown, powered by two Cameron Tuttle tallies, edged top-ranked Princeton, 2-0, in overtime for the championship.
But, a week later, in the opening round of the Easterns at Providence, Harvard retained its distinction as the Bruins' hometown nemesis, silencing Brown, 3-1. The triumph sent the Crimson into the final rounds of the tournament at UVM.
Although the booters settled for fourth place, their strong showing and winning tradition earned them, along with Eastern Champion Cortland State, one of two berths at the first ever intercollegiate women's soccer nationals allotted to the EAIAW. While Harvard captured third place laurels, losing once again to eventual champion Cortland State in the semis, the Bruins had to be wondering why the Selection Committee had passed over the 1980 Ivy crown holders.
"We're in a do-or-die situation right now. If we're good, we'll be able to bounce back," Brown coach Phil Pincince said yesterday, discussing his team's three recent consecutive losses. "We have the slight advantage of being ready for this match. Harvard hasn't been tested yet. The home field advantage should be a big plus-we usually draw lots of fans and the band may play--but it's never helped against Harvard," he added.
All-American Frances Fusco and leading scorer Debbie Ching (5 goals, 1 assist) provide most of the Bruin offensive punch. Steady Michelle Mosher anchors the midfield corps at center half, while All-American Yvonne Goldsberry solidifies the defense at sweeper.
Yet, the familiar Providence setting will not help Brown, with its plethora of returning veterans, against the Crimson. Except for the nagging ankle of Alicia Carrillo, who will play, 4-0 Harvard is healthy and psyched.
And, don't forget. Head coach Bob Scalise (Brown '71) loves to beat his alma mater.