In what could more appropriately be called a warm-up game than a season opener, the Harvard men's soccer team breezed to a 3-0 victory at MIT yesterday.
The real opener is Saturday's contest against Columbia, which shared the Ivy title with Pennsylvania last year.
"We had to expect to win against a team like MIT-on paper it really wasn't any contest," said Harvard coach George Ford.
But Ford added that while the MIT contest was no heart-stopper, it did provide Harvard the chance to flex its muscles before jumping into the middle of what promises to be a very tough race for the Ivy crown.
"Usually we have had to start right off with Columbia," he said, adding that "this was a great chance to get our game together for the rest of the season."
It's probably a good thing that Harvard didn't start right in with Columbia, because, despite its obvious superiority, the team found itself missing several easy chances to score and struggling through a scoreless first half.
Unfit to be Tied
And while the outcome of the game was never really in question. Ford admitted after the content that "we were surprised to be tied at the end of the first half-there was always the possibility of them scoring suddenly on a breakaway and us being down 1-0."
But after shaking off its initial rustiness, partly the result of playing against MIT's unorthodox (read: disorganized) style of play. Harvard jumped out to a lead in the second half and never looked back.
Alberto Villar scored first, followed quickly by Lance Ayrault, on an assist from all-Ivy wing Mauro Keller-Sarmiento. Richard Berkman knocked in the superfluous third late in the game.
Ford said he was especially pleased with the defensive play during the game, and pointed in particular to the play of senior captain John Duggan in the stopper position. "Duggan was invincible-he was in the foray of the action at all times."
Goalie Peter Walsh, who for most of the game might as well have been sipping espresso at the café Pamplona as standing in the net, nevertheless proved flawless on the rare occasions when he was tested. Ben Erulkar, who last year switched off with Walsh, filled in during the last 15 minutes of the contest. Ford said he has not yet decided who will start in net against Columbia, adding that "We have great faith in both of them."