Columbia Blanks Booters, 3-0
The gray skies over Columbia's Baker field never brightened Saturday for the Harvard soccer team as Columbia springboarded off two early goals to down the booters, 3-0, in both squads' Ivy League opener.
The Lions converted two free kicks in the opening 15 minutes of the match. Ivy Rookie of the Year Steve Sirtes pushed an indirect kick just outside the Harvard penalty box to a charging Kazkek Tambi, who hit the back of the net at 7:36. Goalkeeper Ben Erulkar got a hand on Tambi's shot, but the ball trickled into the goal.
Freshman Frank Ozello tallied at 13:51 when a slickly taken free kick froze the Crimson defense, sliding the ball past a helpless Erulkar as the keeper came out to cover the pass.
"The goals were unfortunate because they weren't coming through the defense and were forcing them to the wings," Crimson coach Geroge Ford said, adding that Columbia's execution--especially on the second goal--"bordered on a level of professionalism we couldn't match at times."
The Crimson planned to play defensively, hoping to strike on a quick counter attack. Ford said, adding that the early goals forced the Crimson to play catch-up soccer with a team that was "man-to-man as good or better than we were."
"They were much more together than we were, although they had three of four freshmen on the field," attributing the difference to a lack of high-level competition in practice and in the opening match against hapless MIT.
Ford said the Crimson attempted a "low-pressure" defense--retreating to their own half and then challenging the Lion attack--and that a gap developed between the front and back lines, adding that "the offense was virtually non-existent because we lacked support from the back."
"We tried to hit two target-men--Lance Ayrault and Richard Berkmen--who could lay the ball off to Mauro Keller-Sarmiento and Alberto Villar off the wings." Ford said, adding that tight marking on Keller-Sarmiento and the lack of support from the rear stymied the offense.
The booters had several opportunities for scores on fast breaks, but the ball was passed once too often, Ford said, adding that the forwards had several chances spin past the post or over the crossbar.
Columbia iced the win with Todd White scoring at 66:10 with an assist from Gerry Sullivan.
"We didn't play as well as we are capable," Ford said, but added that the Lions "are better now than at this time last year when they won the championships."