The Harvard women's soccer team boosted its record to 4-0 with a 3-2 victory over the University of Vermont Saturday afternoon at Ohiri Field.
"It was a really strong team effort, especially in scoring three goals," Coach Bob Scalise said. "[Harvard's forwards] have such confidence in our defense that they're willing to take chances in the attacking end."
The Crimson has scored six goals--half its total from the entire 1985 season--in its last two games, and has eight so far this year.
And while the Harvard offense has come alive early on this year, its defense--led by junior goalie Tracee Whitley--has continued to sparkle.
Although the Catamounts' two scores marked the first blemishes on Whitley's 1986 record, she still sports a 0.50 goals-against average. "It's one of the worst things in the world" to be scored against, said Whitley, who had a 0.96 goals-against average last season, "[but] what we're emphasizing is just the fact that we won."
Crimson senior Electa Sevier collected the game's first score with about 11 minutes gone in the first half. Vermont goalie Jen Starr stopped a Lori Barry header off a corner kick, but when Starr couldn't contain the ball, Sevier was there to kick the rebound in for a 1-0 Harvard lead.
Powered by the strong foot of forward Karin Pinezich, the Crimson extended its lead to 3-0. With roughly 10 minutes left in the first half, Pinezich put a 15-yd. shot past Starr into the upper corner of the Vermont goal.
Nine minutes into the second half Pinezich struck again, taking a pass from Lori Barry and lofting a 20-yarder over Starr's head.
Pinezich credited Harvard's well-organized fullback crew for freeing up Crimson forwards on the attacking end. "Our defense is really fast and strong," said Pinezich, Harvard's leading scorer with three goals. "We have confidence they'll get it up to us."
But faced with a 3-0 deficit, Vermont fought back. Catamount attackers penetrated Harvard's defense, and a shot directed toward Whitley was accidentally deflected by Crimson fullback Cari Lyn Beck into Harvard's goal.
[We suffered] "a lapse in concentration," Scalise said. "That sometimes happens when you're up 3-0."
"The [Vermont scoring] play had broken down way before [the deflection]," Scalise added. "Cari Lyn made a nice effort to try to get to the ball."
Harvard saw its lead further reduced with 13 minutes left in the game when Catamount Michelin Sortor scored on apenalty kick following a hotly-contested trippingcall on Harvard's freshman sweeper AndreaMontalbano.
"It was a very clean tackle," said Whitley ofthe Montalbano play. "She got ball." AddedScalise, "We told Andrea after the game that sheshould keep making those kinds of plays."
The Crimson held on to its one-goal advantagethrough the game's remaining minutes, copping itsfourth win of the season without a loss. "Vermontput some pressure on us. We were able to withstandthe pressure," Scalise said.
While Scalise is pleased by the Crimson's goalproduction, he says the offense is "not in fullgear yet." Sophomore standout Amy Winston, who ledthe team in scoring during the pre-season, hasbeen sidelined since she went down with a sprainedankle in the season-opener against Columbia. "WhenAmy gets back we'll be even stronger," Scalisesaid.
The Crimson plays its first two road games thisweek, at Providence on Tuesday and athighly-ranked Holy Cross on Friday, when Winstonis expected back.
"We still need to go a step higher in our playin order to be a contender for the Ivychampionship and an NCAA bid," said Scalise. "Thepotential is there.