Although a 6-5-2 record may not seem to merit it, the Harvard women's succer team is one of the twelve teams that will be compelling in the opening round of the first NCAA women's soccer tournament.
Assistant Coach Susanna Kaplan admitted that the invitation came as "somewhat of a surprise." But she explained that the difficulty of the Crimson schedule, which included five (B.C., UMass, Brown, Princeton and UConn) of the twelve tournament competitors, composed for a less than spectacular record.
So, tonight at 7 p.m. Harvard will face its perennial nemesis Brown in Providence. Seeing Brown in post season action is certainly nothing new to the booters. For the past two years, the Crimson has beaten the Bruins in the Eastern tournament.
In their most recent regular season confrontation--last Saturday--Brown pulled out a 2-1 last minute victory. But in preparation for tonight's meeting. Harvard has made a number of adjustments. The booters will concentrate on containing superstar strikes Francers Fuseo and Debble Ching, who scored both of Brown's tallies on Saturday and back Colleen O'Day.
Harvard tri-captain Kelly Gately will cover Fasco as she did In last week's game, but Debbie Ching will be marked much tighter than she was on Saturday. "Ching is not as fast when she has the bull," Kaplan said. "We have to stick with her when she's moving away from the ball."
Sophomore Debbie Field will also move back to the position of a weeper, a spot she left for the midfield after suffering an injury in Harvard's 4-4 tie with B.C. Consequently, Inga Larson will move from sweeper back to the midfield.
If Harvard is to defeat Brown this evening, the booters will have to shoot more. The Crimson took only seven shots on goal the entire game on Saturday, and throughout the season it has difficulty scoring.
"Brown is the perfect team for us to open the tournament against," Kaplan said, "We're evenly matched and we know them well. It's also nice that it's so close."
Should Harvard win tonight, the Squad's next stop would be St. Louis, where the booters will face second-seeded Missouri-St. Louis. The winner of that contest heads to Orlando. Fla., for the semi-finals and championships around. Other first round matchupsure: Boston college at Cortland St., George Mason at Princeton and Rochester at UMass.
This is the first time the NCAA has run a women's soccer tournament, and there are some changes from last year's AIAW tournament. First and foremost, the NCAA is paying traveling expenses for the learns.
Believe it or not, whether they win or lost tonight, the booters will be back on the succer field tomorrow, facing Yale at 2 p.m. at the Business School field. Despite the tournament, the regular schedule must go on.