The non-conference game is a double-edged sword: while a team can gain experience against a better (or worse) team with no effect on its league record, there is always a wild-card possibility that something bad can happen.
The Harvard women's soccer team's 1-1 tie with Providence was one of those wild-card games. The team played very well and a tie against the speedy Friars is nothing to sneeze at, but the Crimson took a couple of huge blows:
Freshman sweeper Cara James went down midway through the first half with damage to her right knee and is probably lost for the season.
Co-captain and fullback Meg Berte left the game late in the first half with bruised tendons and is questionable for Saturday's game against league-leading Dartmouth, according to Coach Tim Wheaton.
Fullback Genevieve Chelius--suffering from a bad case of the flu--also had to leave the game in the second half but is expected back this weekend.
With a shakeup like that, a 1-1 tie is almost impressive.
"Overall, considering the injuries, we played very well," Wheaton said. "It was hard to keep a focus, but we held things together."
Harvard held onto its .500 record--now at 5-5-2 (3-2-0 Ivy).
James' injury appears to be the most severe. The Wigglesworth resident, just named the Ivy League Player of the Week (see story below), said she collided with a Providence player while running back on defense and tripped.
James said that both the anterior and lateral cruciate ligaments in her right knee were damaged, and that magnetic resonance imaging tests were being scheduled this week.
"It looks pretty serious," Wheaton said. "As soon as she went down, the ref blew the whistle and said `Tim, hurry up.' He knew right away there was a problem. Refs don't do that often."
"It's bad," James said.
Berte's injury was "serious, but not season-ending," Wheaton said. "She's kind of touch-and-go."
To compensate for the losses, Wheaton shuffled his lineup: moving sophomore Sara Noonan back to sweeper and putting freshmen Ellen Mormino and Meg Kassakian on defense.