W. Soccer Takes Home Identical Weekend Wins

Same story, different teams.

The Harvard women's soccer team (8-3-2, 3-1 Ivy) dominated both Pennsylvania (7-4, 2-1) and Central Connecticut (8-6) this weekend, even though the scoreboard didn't really reflect it. The games ended with identical 1-0 Crimson victories.

Harvard 1, Pennsylvania 0

The game started out with both teams looking evenly matched. Penn and Harvard kept the ball traveling through the midfield for the early part of the first half.

The tide soon turned in Harvard's favor. By the 15 minute mark, the Crimson had achieved the field position it would rarely give up throughout the remainder of the game.

"We dominated the entire game, but they packed it in the goal," said junior forward Naomi Miller.

The story of the day was defense as Harvard held Penn to one shot on goal. Harvard goalie Anne Browning had zero saves.

"I was really proud of them," said Harvard Coach Tim Wheaton. "I think the defense really did the job today."

Junior defender Brynne Zuccaro had two shots early in the first half--one caught by the Penn goalie and one sailing wide left.

At the 18 minute mark, a Harvard corner kick was headed toward the Penn goalie, who made the save.

The half ended with several Harvard shots, but no visible results.

In the second half, Harvard's edge seemed even more evident. Beginning at the 57th minute, Harvard was able to produce a scoring opportunity within every three minutes.

Finally, at exactly 70:00, sophomore Gina Foster crossed a shot from the corner of the penalty box over the goalie's head and into the back of the net. Harvard had the goal it needed to win the game.

After the goal, both teams seemed to get a little spring back in their step, but neither team could take advantage of the other.

"We'd like to get more production," Wheaton said. "We weren't quite as aggressive to the goal in the first half as we were in the second."

Foster, normally a fullback, was playing forward for only the third time in her Harvard career. The first time was only for five minutes, but the last two time have been for 15 minutes--enough time to score a goal in both of games.

"If she can promise me a goal every 15 minutes, she can play there all the time," Wheaton said. "So far she's done it."

Don't think that this is the first time she's ever played forward, though.

"I'm usually a defender, but I played forward in high school," Foster said. "I have played forward all my life."

Foster's attitude seems to be a rarity among the defenders.

"I love playing forward, but there is a lot of defensive pride," Foster said. "Everyone on defense loves [playing defense]. I am one of the few who really likes playing forward."

Harvard 1, Central Conn. 0

Yesterday, the final score did not reflect the extent of No. 20 Harvard's dominance over the Central Connecticut Blue Devils.

The Crimson offense came out firing shots en route to its third straight victory. Its relentless attack pulled the Central Connecticut goalkeeper off her line at least three times in the first 10 minutes.

After numerous shots grazed the top of the goal or barely scattered wide of the goal, the fans and team realized that it had to be just a matter of time before Harvard would score.

"It is frustrating when you are playing so well and the scoreboard doesn't show it," said junior goalkeeper Meredith Bagley. "We have to focus on the fact that we are playing well, and the goals will come."

With 11 minutes remaining in the first half the time had come.

Beautiful passing and teamwork set up the goal. After leading the charge down the field and passing to sophomore forward Beth Zotter, junior midfielder Devon Bingham received a perfect return pass from Zotter, and Bingham flicked the ball over the Blue Devil goalie and into the back of the net.

Following the breakthrough--and what would prove to be the determining goal--the Crimson did not alleviate its offensive attack.

Shots continued to barrage the goal right up until halftime.

In the second half, the Harvard team looked relaxed and comfortable: despite only winning by a margin of one, it did not seem concerned.

Many players received playing time; all three goalkeepers played, even though none of them received much of a workout--in fact, they had no saves.

Central Connecticut had only two shots the entire game.

In contrast, Harvard deluged the Central Connecticut goalie with 24 shots.

"We were able to play a lot of people," Wheaton said. "We have the ability to play a lot of different players and maintain the same level of play."

With a little over five minutes remaining, Harvard received a scare. A Central Connecticut cross ricocheted off a Harvard defender's head and barely escaped wide of the goal.

However, Harvard quickly retained control and closed out its marginal victory.

"We would like to score more goals, but it's tough when you play against a team that packs it in like that," Wheaton said. "We had our chances, and we played with a lot of confidence."

This game--a non-league match--was a nice break for Harvard before it begins the final chase for the Ivy League title.

Its final three games will be against Ivy foes.

With Yale losing on Saturday, the Ivy League title is Harvard's to win.

"For us to stay in control of our own destiny, we need to win the last three games," Wheaton said. "Strange permutations can happen, but we'd like to just win it and be in control."

Although the Crimson has been creating so many scoring opportunities, there are no illusions about the need for increased scoring.

"We can't lose any more," said junior Jocelyn Ludwick. "It means we'll have to put the ball in the net."

Overall, the Crimson was happy with its performance and content to escape with a marginal victory.

"The result is what counts," Ludwick said. "A win is a win."

HARVARD, 1-0 at Ohiri FieldCentral Conn.  0  0  --  0Harvard  1  0  --