Yesterday afternoon, the Harvard women's soccer team proved that except for the hands, every part of the body can be put to use. Just ask freshman forward Rachel Chernikoff.
Chernikoff scored the first goal in Harvard's 2-1 victory over the University of New Hampshire in Durham, N.H., on what is sure to be one of the best-remembered plays of the season.
With 39:55 left to go in the second half, co-captain Laura Flynn took the ball down the left side of the field, passing to co-captain Martha Schneider. Schneider centered the ball to Chernikoff. Challenged by the Wildcat defense, Chernikoff shot the ball. The ball deflected off the UNH defender back into Chernikoff--hitting her square in the eye and rebounding into the net for the score.
"It's the kind of goal you need in soccer," Coach Tim Wheaton said.
Chernikoff was forced to leave the game due to swelling of the eye, but is expected to be ready for Saturday's game against Princeton.
New Hampshire outshot Harvard, 21-13, but neither team scored in the first half.
But the Wildcats opened the second half with their only goal, taking advantage of a breakdown in Harvard's communication on defense. New Hampshire converted a two-on-one situation with 42:36 left in the second half.
After the goal by Chernikoff to tie the score, freshman fullback Cara James provided the margin of victory with 21:39 left to play on a 25-foot shot on a free kick that found the near-upper corner of the net.
"The goalie got a hand on it, but it was just too powerful," Wheaton said. "It was just a rocket."
Donahoe still had to save the game for Harvard in the closing seconds of the game. New Hampshire had a corner kick with about 20 seconds remaining, and Donahoe used every inch on her 5-11 frame to knock the ball away from the net--in the process colliding with an onrushing Wildcat player and landing in the goal.
"It was an important win for us," said Wheaton.