For more than 50 minutes Saturday, the Brandeis men's soccer team staged a homecoming jubilee in Waltham.
The Judges jumped to a commanding 2-0 lead over favored Harvard--ranked 20th in the country in last week's coaches poll--while throngs of partisan fans exulted over the impending upset.
And then the hosts' party soured.
John Catliff, the Crimson's leading scorer, assisted on a Nick D'Onotrio header that broke the ice for Harvard at 52:07. Then 11 minutes later, Catliff followed up with his sixth tally of the season to send the contest into overtime.
Last Wednesday, the booters failed to score in OT and had to settle for a 1-1 tie against the University of Connecticut. But Saturday, Harvard wasn't to be denied.
Six-and-a-half minutes into the first of two 10-minute overtime periods, Catliff pushed the ball to freshman Paul Baverstock. Baverstock crossed a pass to Nick Hotchkin, who headed the ball past Brandeis goalie Michael Alamilla for the game-winner.
"We didn't really start to play well until we went two down," Baverstock said. "After we went down 2-0, the rest of the way it was one-way traffic. It was just a matter of time before we were going to score."
Hotchkin agreed: "Once we got one goal, we were pretty set to come back," the junior noted. "We showed real character to come back and win. we're starting to look better [on offense], although we've still got a long way to go."
The victory boosted the Crimson's season mark to 3-0-1 overall (1-0 Ivy), while the Judges fell to 6-2 on the year.
As in Wednesday's game, the booters had to make due without several top starters--including midfielder and Captain Paul Nicholas, back Mark Pepper and goalie Stephen Hall.
Hall is out with mononucleosis. But sophomore Chad Reilly, filling in for Hall for the second straight game, recorded seven saves against the Judges--and didn't allow a tally over the contest's last 59-plus minutes.
"Chad Reilly deserves a lot of credit," Nicholas said. "He's really a very good keeper, and he's come in and played well for us."
The Crimson travels to face national power Hartwick Saturday, and returns home to host league rival Cornell the following weekend.