Stauffer, W. Soccer Top B.C.
Junior Nets Three Goals in First Half as Crimson Win, 4-1
What does a T.V. dinner have in common with Harvard women's soccer? In the frozen foods business, the name Stouffers stands for a premiere quality product. In the business of women's soccer, the name Stauffer stands for the same.
Led by junior midfielder Emily Stauffer, the Harvard women (3-0, 1-0 Ivy) garnered their third straight victory of the season over local rival Boston College, 4-1. Stauffer microwaved the Eagles defense en route to a three-goal hat trick that left little to be said except, "Oooh" and "Ahhh."
The Eagles were, essentially, the Crimson's first challenge of the season Boston College has solidly beaten teams like Villanova and Georgetown and even played last year's defending national champion, Notre Dame, which B.C. lost to 6-0.
"This was our first tough game really, because of who they are and who they play and partly because of the level of rivalry," Harvard coach Tim Wheaton said. "Its a big rivalry, so it doesn't matter how each team is doing--when we play each other its battle."
In the first half, the women played soccer more like an art rather than open warfare. Razor-sharp passes, dazzling footwork and keen field vision were all part of the palette of the masterpiece called Harvard women's soccer.
"Today was our first game where we really clicked--our first half was incredible," said freshman goalie Anne Browning, who started the second half. "Our game plan actually unfolded on the field."
"I thought we played very quickly, but we relaxed with the ball," Wheaton said. "I think especially through the first half we just kept control of the game....It's always nice to have Emily score a hat trick, but I thought we got a good performance from everyone on the field."
But it certainly doesn't hurt to have one of the best players in the country on your side.
Twenty-seven minutes into the first half, Stauffer collected a pass from junior back Rebe Glass and waved her magic wand. Stauffer tore down the middle, had a chicken-fight with her defender (which she won), staved off a defensive assault from the flank, and ripped a cross shot into the net to give Harvard a 1-0 lead.
Pouring more salt on the Eagles' wounds seven minutes later, junior midfielder Keren Gudeman fired a perfect, long cross pass to Stauffer deep in left wing enemy territory. Disgracing her defender, stauffer managed to get off an almost 90degree angle shot that befuddled Boston College's goalkeeper and gave Harvard a 2-0 cushion.
That 2-0 cushion quickly became a 3-0 waterbed as the relentless Stauffer took advantage of chaos in front of the Boston College net to bazooka another rocket by the hapless Eagle goaltender.
Stauffer's talent was obviously washing off on everyone, including the freshmen. All the units were playing superb soccer and were consistently playing well, not just displaying fits of brilliance that had been characteristic of the Crimson's previous two games.
So what made the difference today?
"I think for awhile we had a whole lot of information jumbled around in our minds, and today was the first day that we just put it together before [the game] and let it come out and feel natural," Stauffer said.
If the first half was a Picasso, then the second half was more like an Andy Warhol. Things were a little wilder and crazier, but still pretty darn good.
There was one boo-boo seven minutes into the second half when sophomore Boston College forward Megan Shaughnessy found Crimson net to narrow the Crimson's lead to 3-1.
But sophomore midfielder Devon Bingham had an answer for that one, as she replied with authority.
With 28 minutes left in the game, Bingham chipped a shot from outside the perimeter. It was the kind of shot that gives goalkeepers nightmares. The ball sailed in a lazy arc and the Boston College goalkeeper made a desperate jump for it, but the ball slipped behind her out stretched fingers into the net to give Harvard its final 4-1 victory.
"Today was a good transition point to say, "'Okay, this is how we want to play and now we're ready to face Yale,' which will be a very good game on Saturday," Browning said. "I think [this game] kind of set the stage for the rest of the season."
Then let the opening act begin. Scoring Har--Stauffer (Glass), 18:36. Har--Stauffer (Gudeman), 25:45. Har--Stauffer (Zotter, Berman), 44:04. B.C.--Forgiano (Kelley), 51:40. Har--Bingham, 61:00. Saves: Har--Burney 0, Browning 1, Bagley 1; B.C.--Lehn 17.
Har--Stauffer (Glass), 18:36.
Har--Stauffer (Gudeman), 25:45.
Har--Stauffer (Zotter, Berman), 44:04.
B.C.--Forgiano (Kelley), 51:40.
Saves: Har--Burney 0, Browning 1, Bagley 1; B.C.--Lehn 17.