In a close defensive soccer match, one quick, accurate shot can make a big difference.
The University of New Hampshire women's soccer team took that one quick shot yesterday at Ohiri Field and defeated Harvard, 1-0, in front of 75 spectators.
The upset dropped the 18th-ranked Crimson's record to 1-1 overall (1-0 Ivy League), while the 20th-ranked Wildcats improved to 3-1.
At the start of the second half, UNH midfielder Cheryl Bergeron sent a ball to forward Diane McLoughlin at the top of the Harvard box. McLoughlin--New Hampshire's leading scorer--controlled and quickly fired a shot over Harvard goaltender Liz Wald for the only score of the game.
"It was a good shot," Harvard Coach Tim Wheaton said. "You have to give them credit."
"I'd like to get that one back," Wald said. "It was definitely the speed of the shot that surprised me. It went off my fingertips. I feel that if I get my hands on the ball I should save it."
The goal spoiled an otherwise flawless performance by Wald, who posted 10 sliding and diving saves. Wald, a senior, stepped out of the shadow of three-time All-America goalie Tracee Whitley, who graduated last June.
"Liz had a great game," Wheaton said. "I can think of at least three simply outstanding saves in the game that she made."
Unfortunately for the Crimson, Wald's efforts were matched by senior Wildcat netminder Janene Tilden (11 saves).
Tilden made her best saves late in the game--a diving deflection of a blast by freshman Robin Johnston with only five minutes left and a leaping grab on the ensuing corner kick.
The Wildcats dominated the first half, winning most of the loose balls in the midfield and putting heated pressure on the Harvard defenders.
"We saw Harvard play Columbia and we tried to take advantage of what we saw as their weaknesses," UNH Coach Marge Anderson said. "And it helped. We felt we had to shut down [Harvard Captain] Amy Winston and [midfielder] Tracy Hackeling and I think we did it."
But Wald and a strong Harvard backfield directed by junior sweeper Andrea Montalbano kept UNH from converting its first-half chances into goals.
Midfield play improved in the second half, but tight UNH marking and less-than-crisp Crimson passing limited Harvard's offensive opportunities.
"I'm pleased that we played much better in the second half," Wheaton said. "It's early in the season, and we learned a lesson that we have to play 90 minutes in every game."
While the non-league loss to the Wildcats was painful for the Crimson to bear, it will not hamper Harvard's hunt for an Ivy crown.
"Everything we want to accomplish is still in front of us," Wheaton said.
THE NOTEBOOK: UNH outshot the Crimson, 17-12...The Wildcats took eight corner kicks to Harvard's four...Tilden has posted a shutout in all three UNH victories this year...McLoughlin has five goals and an assist in four games...In 1987, the Crimson topped UNH, 1-0, on a goal by Christin Biggs...Harvard travels to Worcester to take on Holy Cross Thursday at 3:30 p.m.