When the Harvard women's soccer team takes on Cornell this morning, the fight will be not only for Ivy League honors but also for a lead in the all-important national rankings.
The Crimson (7-1-1) and the Big Red (6-1-1) entered the week tied for 14th in the polls, so today's 11 a.m. showdown at Ohiri Field is extremely crucial for both squads.
Harvard is fresh off a thrilling 3-1 upset victory over fifth-ranked Boston College on Wednesday. "We've got the momentum going," said senior Inga Larson, who heads a tight Crimson defense that has allowed only three goals all year.
The booters biggest challenge over the past three games has been just keeping up with the pace set by All-American forward and scoring star Kelly Landry. A senior, Landry holds every Harvard scoring record in the book, and has scored eight goals in her last three outings.
The visitors, meanwhile, will counter with Sherrie Chocola in goal. She'll have to turn aside a potent Crimson offense finally starting to hit its stride. Harvard had some early-season scoring troubles, but Landry's recent explosion has propelled the entire team to four consecutive victories.
Cornell's biggest scoring threats are Meagan McMahan and Lori Collier, who between them have 12 goals and four assists for the year.
Although the two squads are currently tied in the rankings, previous games would seem to give the edge to the Crimson. While Harvard demolished Villanova, 5-1, Cornell could only manage a 3-1 victory in overtime over Villanova.
Similarily, the Big Red had a tough time with Adelphi, a team the Crimson handily defeated, 3-0.