Although the Harvard women's soccer team ended the season on a bit of a sour note, falling to Ivy League champion Brown, 1-0, Saturday at Ohiri Field in front of 80 fans, the Crimson had a successful rebuilding year.
Harvard (5-8 overall, 3-3 Ivy League) was trying to take a share of second place, but had to settle for a third-place tie along with Cornell, behind Dartmouth.
"I felt we played really well," Harvard Coach Tim Wheaton said. "We put together some really nice stuff. Brown plays a very rigid style defensively, and they count on one player to finish."
That player was Bruin Captain Theresa Hirscuer, who scored the only goal just six minutes into the game. Freshman Jennifer Warren carried the ball down the left side and crossed the ball to Hirscuer, who headed it past diving goal-keeper Beth Reilly into the right side of the net.
The goal was all Brown (6-0 Ivy) would need, as the Crimson attack was stifled by a solid Bruin defense. Harvard outshot the Bruins, 14-9, but most of the Crimson's early chances were long-distance attempts.
Meanwhile, the Crimson defense settled down and began to contain the dangerously quick Bruin wingers. Juniors Jen Gfford and Andie Montalbano had strong games in the back.
"I wasn't pleased," Brown Coach Phil Pincince said. "I don't think we played well. Harvard came out strong in the second half and played really well."
The Crimson forced the play in the second stanza, especially with time running down but could not put the ball in the net.
Hirscuer apparently scored again with five minutes remaining after making a steal and beating the Harvard defense. But the referee ruled that another Bruin was offsides and the call was negated.
On the whole, the Crimson played as well as it had in its previous two games, a pair of victories over Yale and Princeton.
"We talked about going 3-0 now to start next season," Wheaton said. "In that sense, I'm happy about the way we played, even though we lost."
Harvard played exceptionally well in its final three games of the year, hustling, creating opportunities and playing together as a team.
The Crimson loses three seniors to graduation--Captain Amy Winston, netminder Liz Wald and forward Ally Kennan.
"They were valuable members of the team, but the core of the team is coming back," Wheaton said. "Next season looks good."
THE NOTEBOOK: Bruin netminder Kathryn Tarnoff made 13 saves, while Reilly totalled six...The Bruins had three corner kicks to Harvard's one...In her first injury-free season, Winston claimed the team scoring lead with one goal and seven assists for nine points. Sophomore forward Tracy Hackeling was second with four goals for eight points.