Coming off a heart-breaking 3-2 loss to Hartwick in overtime last Saturday, the Harvard men's soccer team faces Boston University, one of the top teams in the nation today at Ohiri Field.
The Terriers (7-2-0 overall, 2-0-0 North Atlantic Conference) spanked Hartwick, 5-1, two weeks ago and are in the midst of fivegame winning streak.
A Tale of Two Teams
The Crimson (3-5-0 overall, 0-2-0 Ivy) is at the opposite end of the spectrum. Harvard has lost four of its last five--three in overtime--salvaging only one game against New Hampshire, one of its easiest opponents.
In nine games, the Terriers have scored 22 times while yielding just seven goals.
In contrast, Harvard has tallied only 11 times in eight matches and has allowed 13 goals.
These statistics don't exactly bode well for the Crimson.
Actually, Harvard might not mind meeting B.U. right now.
Harvard holds a 15-6-6 advantage in series play and has traditionally played the Terriers tough. The Crimson tied B.U., 1-1, last season, and blanked the Terriers, 2-0, in 1989. B.U. last defeated Harvard in 1986 by the score of 2-1.
And today's match will be played at grassy Ohiri Field rather than on the B.U. turf, which should work to Harvard's advantage.
Of course, the Crimson will have to play some of its best soccer to compete with the Terriers. B.U. has been led this season by sophomore forward Emesih Okereke (seven goals, one assist, 15 points).
Other scoring leaders include senior midfielder/forward Tim Horton (5-1--11), senior fullback/forward Peter Verplancke (3-5--11) and senior midfielder David Silke (2-4--8).
No one has broken into double figures in points yet for the Crimson. Junior midfielder Jason Luzak leads the way with one goal and five assists, and midfielders Joe Bradley and Alex Estevez and forward Pepper Brill have notched two goals each.
B.U. and Harvard match up a little better in the goalie position. Crimson netminder Jamie Reilly continues to do an outstanding job in goal, compiling 37 saves and a 1.30 goals-against average. Terriers keeper Brad Rubin has made 24 saves and yields an average of just a goal a game, and netminder Robert Ford has yielded just one goal in 270 minutes of play.
On paper, B.U. appears to be the clear favorite today, but Harvard always manages to make a game out of its contests with the Terriers.
Expect history to repeat itself today.