"If there ever was a game where the ball just didn't bounce our way, it was today," Captain Beth Reilly said.
The women's soccer team traveled to Amherst, Mass., and fell to the Minutewomen, 3-1, yesterday afternoon. Things just didn't go the way Harvard Coach Tim Wheaton would have liked them to.
With about ten minutes elapsed, Massachusetts, ranked number ten in the nation and number one in the East, netted its first goal of the day, a medium-range shot that slipped just inside the far post.
"It was from a strange angle, and it was hard to judge," junior fullback Amy Weinstein said.
The first goal seemed to characterize the first half for the Crimson. It was not too threatening, but it managed to sneak through.
"We have to stop playing a goal down," Reilly said. "It's an uphill battle for us before we have a chance to settle into our game."
The Minutewomen went up 2-0 on a controversial penalty kick with about fifteen minutes remaining in the first half. Harvard was called for tripping inside the box, but players questioned both the trip itself and the referee's judgment that it occurred inside the box.
"Normally, a penalty kick would not be called unless the person would definitely have scored a goal," Weinstein said. "She was not even close to scoring."
"If she was in the penalty box, she was in by an inch," Wheaton said.
Halftime arrived with the Crimson down 2-0. But it was not over.
Harvard came out fighting in the second half, tallying midway through the final period to bring the score to 2-1.
Senior Tracy Hackeling sacrificed herself and knocked a cross from sophomore Sharon Olken into the net. Olken sent her cleared corner kick back through the middle and Hackeling converted what would be Harvard's only goal.
The Crimson continued to dominate the second half, keeping the pressure on Massachusetts. It was just not to be.
"We were just unlucky," Weinstein said. "The game could easily have gone either way."
Runs from the back, sparked by senior Tara Weinstock and junior Robin Johnson, kept the Crimson dangerous. Even at 3-1, the Minutewomen knew they didn't have a win until the final buzzer sounded.
"We put a lot of pressure on them," Reilly said. "There is no doubt that we dominated the second half."
Massachusetts capitalized on a Harvard defensive letdown and scored its final goal on a breakaway.
"They were supposed to be a great team," Weinstein said, "but they were definitely beatable."
Minutewomen, 3-1 at Amherst HARVARD 0-1--1 Massachusetts 2-1--3
Goals: M, Lisa Mickelson, 10:00; M. April Kater (penalty kick) H, Tracy Hackeling (Sharon Olken), 50:29; M, Tracy Arwwod 60:28.
Saves: H, Beth Reilly 8; M, Skye Eddy 3, Briana Scurry 3.