No one really wants to play the "What if?" game, but after the Harvard men's soccer team dispatched an extremely strong Dartmouth squad, 3-1, yesterday at Ohiri Field, even players could not help asking, What if?
What if Harvard had beaten Yale and Princeton in overtime?
What if Harvard had just beaten one of them?
Chances are, the Ivy title, or at least a part of it, could have gone to the Crimson.
"No team has really beaten us," junior Jason Luzak said, who scored an insurance goal for Harvard late in the second half. "We should be undefeated right now."
The Crimson is not 6-0 in the Ivy, instead it is 3-3.
But you would not have guessed that looking at the team yesterday.
Harvard (7-6-0 overall) did everything it needed to do to knock off the second place Big Green (6-4-2, 4-2-0 Ivy), including netting two late-game goals to secure the win.
"It is just a great win for us," Harvard Coach Mike Getman said. "I was very pleased with the effort that all the guys put out."
One key to the outcome of yesterday's game was that Harvard's offense produced when it had to.
After each team scored quickly in the first ten minutes of the game, neither squad could net a goal for almost 60 minutes.
But with just over 15 minutes remaining and overtime looming, the Harvard offense came alive.
Junior David Vaughn came off the bench and managed to head a Brian Enge corner kick into the lower right side of the net and give the Crimson a 2-1 lead.
With only tow minutes left in the game, a Luzak tally secured the Harvard victory.
The goal was set up by senior Don Daigle, who penetrated deep into Big Green territory on the right side. Daigle passed the ball to Juan Betancourt, who dished it off to Luzak on the right side of the net. Luzak proceeded to drill a shot back into the lower left of the net for the 3-1 advantage.
"We got a few breaks, but we made some great plays down the stretch and that is what wins games," Getman said.
Great goaltending also wins games and Harvard certainly had that yesterday.
Senior Scott Salisbury, starting for only the second time this year, came up big for the Crimson, chalking up nine saves on 16 shots against goal.
"Scott has worked tremendously hard in practice, and he had a great game today," Getman said.
While Harvard had the offense and the defense, it also had some luck.
Several Dartmouth shots that were inches away from being goals, only to hit the goal post or just miss to one side.
"I think it could have gone either way, said Dartmouth Coach Bobby Clark, whose team was almost certainly knocked out of the Ivy race with the loss. "We had the better chance, but we have to take them. If you don't take them then you can't complain."
Harvard will have its work cut out for it on Sunday, when it will host the nationally-ranked Indiana Hoosiers at 1 p.m.
"They are obviously coming here to play," said Getman. "We'll give them out best."