Booters Befuddle Bruins
Unbeaten Crimson Rolls Over Brown, 4-2
PROVIDENCE, R.I.--The Harvard men's soccer team likes to create confusion.
Saturday at Stevenson Field here in Providence, the Crimson baffled Brown long enough to send two goals past Bruin netminder Jonah Goldstein in a 36-second span. The twin tallies gave Harvard (10-0-2 overall, 5-0 Ivy League) a 4-2 league triumph.
The mixed-up Bruins spent the opening period trying to figure out what sport Harvard was playing.
Crimson goaltender Stephen Hall continually sailed 70-yd. punts up the field. Speed demons Nick Hotchkin, Derek Mills and Nick D'Onofrio raced after them on the fast break. And the Harvard offense fired a bevy of shots at Goldstein.
Football, basketball or soccer? Don't ask the Bruins. They didn't know.
"We knew we'd have our hands full with Harvard," Brown Coach Cliff Stevenson said.
With a 2-2 deadlock 30 minutes into the second half, junior midfielder Ramy Rajballie lined up for a Crimson cornerkick. Rajballie's shot arched toward net, and a scramble out front resulted in a Crimson goal.
"Ramy took an excellent cornerkick," Harvard Coach Mike Getman said. "The way we have it set up is to create confusion, and it did."
Seconds later, sophomore forward D'Onofrio sent a power header--that looked more like a free throw--high into the air. The ball went straight above the goal and snuck in just behind Goldstein to give the Crimson a 4-2 lead.
"In the first half, [Brown's] defense was flat, so the ball over the top was a worthwhile option," senior midfielder Hotchkin said. "In the second half we varied a bit more, playing more to the feet. It was a faster game than usual."
Play in the opening period saw both teams racing up and down the field, with sophomore Paul Baverstock opening the scoring four minutes into the half. Baverstock netted an unassisted goal to the right of Goldstein to put the Crimson ahead, 1-0.
"The game was very fast, especially in the first half," Getman said. "Both teams were running themselves ragged."
Brown rallied to knot the score at 1-1 off a Giampiero Ambrosi goal 10 minutes later. Freshman forward Miguel Sanchez picked the ball off Crimson back Roger Chapman on the left side of the field and dribbled across to challenge Hall. Hall came out of net to respond to the expected shot, and Sanchez sent a perfect cross pass toAmbrosi, who fired it in.
"They were a good, solid team," Hotchkin said."It's not surprising that they scored goals. Theyearned their goals."
Brown was solid, but Harvard was spectacular,looking more like an NCAA Final Four contingentthan any other time this season. Play revolvedaround the Crimson's run-and-gun style, with theBruins forced to adapt to Harvard's tendency toplay lots of balls into the box.
"Boom, the ball goes down into the corner and[Harvard] gets a goal," Stevenson said. "Theyreally have an offensive punch."
A Hotchkin-Mills combination socked the Bruinsfor Harvard's second goal. Hotchkin raced the ballinto the left corner of the field and passedacross to Mills, who popped it in. But Bruinmidfielder Joshua Schiller tied it up, 2-2, off apass from freshman Jason Smith.
Hall faced 15 shots and recorded sixsaves--almost all of them show-case performances.
[Hall's] a sharp goalie," Stevenson said. "Andhe's got one hell of a punt.