One of the best ways to evaluate the performance of a team is to consider its time of possession. If that statistic is used as a yardstick for excellence, then the Harvard women's soccer team was utterly dominant in yesterday's 4-0 victory against Holy Cross at Ohiri Field.
The Crimson, improving its overall record to 6-6-2 (remaining 3-3-0 in the Ivy League), did an outstanding job of keeping most of the action confined to Crusader territory.
"Every time they touched the ball, we put them under a lot of pressure, so it was difficult for them to move very much," Harvard Coach Tim Wheaton said.
The statistics back him up. Harvard took an impressive 27 shots on net, while Holy Cross (4-11-2 overall) could manage only seven.
When asked if she faced any dangerous shots on net, senior goalie Brooke Donahoe said simply, "Nope. Maybe one or two in the second half."
"That's normally how it has to work if you're going to win 4-0," captain Laura Flynn said.
Although Harvard controlled the action from the opening tip, it took nearly half the period for it to convert one of its many scoring chances.
Flynn opened the scoring 21:36 into the game when she picked up a deflected shot and drilled the ball past Crusader goalie Meagan Bacharach. Sophomore Kate DeLellis was credited with her seventh assist of the season on the play.
"We were kind of antsy waiting for that first goal because we'd had so many shots," Flynn said. "After that first goal, we were able to relax a little more."
Just three minutes into the second half, Harvard widened its lead. Junior Libby Eynon booted a pass from freshman Rachel Chernikoff high into the center of the net to put the Crimson ahead by two.
Harvard sealed its victory later on in the half with two more goals in the span of 50 seconds: Sophomore Reena Lawande tapped a cross from DeLellis (her eighth assist, tying Yale's Jen Teti atop the Ivy League) into the net at 61:40. Co-captain Meg Berte also earned an assist.
Before the dust had cleared, Chernikoff's second assist of the day set up Flynn's second goal, giving Harvard the 4-0 lead it would hold until the game's end.
The victory was the last home game of the season.