Throughout her career, senior midfielder Meredith Stewart has never been one of the most frequent scorers on the Harvard women's soccer team. When she does figure into the offense, though, she has an uncanny knack for making it count.
Case in point: In the Crimson's huge 1-0 upset last year over then-No. 7 UConn, it was Stewart who launched the corner kick that set up the Crimson's only goal, breaking a scoreless tie in the 81st minute of play and sending Harvard soaring in the national polls.
Better still was Stewart's performance just one week earlier, when the Crimson went to overtime against then-unbeaten Princeton. In the 99th minute of the game, Stewart collected a rebound in front of the net and fired home a shot that gave Harvard the win and kept its Ivy title hopes alive.
Fast forward to the 2000 season: Stewart is still showing a remarkable flair for the dramatic, and the Crimson is counting on her to help it surpass last season's success.
In Saturday's crucial Ivy season opener against Penn, Stewart again stepped up to the plate and scored the game-winning goal to give the Crimson a late come-from-behind victory against a tough Quaker squad.
After finishing as runner-up to Harvard in the Ivy League race last year, Penn had been considered one of the biggest obstacles in the Crimson's bid to repeat as league champs.
Thanks to Stewart's leadership and grit, however, the Crimson has taken one large step towards defending its title.
"Meredith has so much composure," freshman midfielder Katie Westfall said. "Playing with her has been a great learning experience. The goal she scored [against Penn] as huge. I give her a lot of credit."
As for the remainder of the season, the best scenario for Harvard would see the Crimson dominate the rest of its competition. Stewart is joined by a talented cast of characters who is prepared to help her lead the team to victory.
But just in case the need should arise for some late-game heroics in a crucial match, the Crimson knows that it can always count on Stewart to rise to the occasion.