A week before the Harvard women's soccer team left for st. Lolis in quarterfinal NCAA play netminder Janet Judge was hurt again.
But although a surgical cast was holding row rool-caneied teeth and a recently acquired shoulder injury was still causing her some pain, all Judge could think about was accompanying her teammates to the championship meet in St. Louis. A trainer cautioned her against playing but Judge left otherwise--"I'm going to play in that game". She said emphatically.
It Takes Guts
It was not the first time the gutsy second semester junior had displayed her delimitation to overcome physical setbacks. Earlier in the season when an eager B.C.Striker tried to kick the ball out of Judge's hands she instead hooted is into the goalie's lower jaw--necessitating 14 stitches and oral surgery. Judge was not daunted: 10 days later be reappeared at practice.
During her brief recovery period, however, the booters had dropped two contests--to UConn and Dartmouth--and Judge itched to rejoin the squad. Her opportunity came when poncelon, ranked first in Ivy pay, came to Cambridge. Looking fit and ferocious. Judge astonished onlookers by sliding to players one-on-one and diving to block 18 Tiger shots.
Back-up goalie Chris Lahey remembers admiringly. "Janet was absolutely unbelievable. She must have been in some incredible pain. but she played as if nothing were wrong.
Judge downplays any heroics on her part. "Once the game starts. I don't really think about how much pain I'm in." She says. "I'm more concerned about slopping that ball."
Judge's other injury--a shoulder problem--occurred during first-round-NCAA play against Brown. "I guess I dove out of the goal too fast and launched on my shoulder that wrong way." Judge says casually. "We still haven't figured our what i did to it."
The 5-it., 9-in., Garden City, New York native wears her hair cut short-a style she favors because it keeps her vision clear. Sporting a Harvard sports jacket and Adidas tennis shoes, Judge could easily pass for the basketball star she once was. After selecting Harvard over other lvy League schools that recruited her to play basketball. Judge was a varsity forward here her freshman year.
Channeling her athletic talents solely to the soccer field was an unconscious decision. Originally trying our for the scoreless to get in shape for basketball three years ago. Judge found herself really enjoying her teammates and the caliber of their play.
Although she discourages comparisons of the basketball and soccer teams. Judge allows, "I guess I prefer soccer because the learn is a lop-level team. It's nice to be playing on a team that's ranked in the top nationally.
Since Judge got her first varsity soccer start in national play, she has bad more time to adjust to Harvard's impressive soccer program. Recalling her first time on the twines. Judge's calm expression becomes more animated "The varsity goalie had trouble breathing in high altitudes," she remember. "Since I had played basketball, they knew I could catch, so the coach converted me from midfielder to goalie a week before the tourney."
In 1979, the booters placed third in NCAA playoff action, with Judge minding the twines. Although the crimson lost in the first game Judge played, it staged a come-from behind win to clinch third place there.
"I was pretty nervous playing in the tournament--in was my first time ever really playing a game in the goal," Judge says with a grin. "It was snowing and cold, I could see pike's Peak from the goal. I remember practicing my slides in the snow."
Maybe Next Year
Unfortunately, last weekend's NCAA play was not as excelling or memorable for the booters. Judge's playing while injured was not enough to inspire her teammates, as they fell to St. Louis. on a last minute penalty kick.
Despire the disappointing finish to the season head Coach Bob Scalise has nothing but positive words for Judge's play.
"Janet has been really tremendous this season--she had developed into one of the most outstanding goalies around." He says. "Playing goalie isn't easy either. It takes a lot of determination and courage."
Judge toyed with the idea of returning to basketball this year now that soccer is through but a concentration change from government to pre-med precludes that. "It was a tough decision to make," she says, "but I just don't have the time now.
Next fall, though, Judge will surely be back on the soccer fields to preside as the Crimson booters last line of defense.