Athlete of the Week: Ladd Fritz '04
The Crimson’s last victory over the Tigers—a 3-0 shutout in Cambridge—predated all of Harvard’s seniors and even Crimson coach John Kerr. So, when it came to Princeton, no one associated with the Harvard soccer program had known anything except defeat.
But there’s a first time for everything, and at Ohiri Field on Saturday, it took just one gritty goal to erase three years of frustration.
Not surprisingly, the goal came off the foot of sophomore sensation Ladd Fritz, who leads the team in scoring with five goals in just his second season.
Playing through a pelting rain against the Tigers, Fritz received a pass from senior Michael Peller in the 27th minute and
buried a shot past Princeton keeper Jason White to break
a scoreless tie.
Just like that, almost as quickly as the skies had opened up, the game—and perhaps the race for the Ivy title—did as well. By holding on for the 1-0 victory, Harvard stayed perfect in league play. Princeton had once been considered one of the leading contenders for the Ivy crown, but now it’s the upstart Crimson who controls its own destiny.
One of the youngest teams in the league, Harvard has grown up in a hurry. Since notching a goal and an assist in the team’s season opener against Yale, Fritz especially has played beyond his years. Not even a change of position has been able to rattle him this fall.
“Ladd Fritz is a fabulous player,” Coach Kerr said Saturday. “He moved from midfield to striker earlier this year and now it seems like he’s been playing striker his whole life.”
The league season is still young, but thanks to Fritz’s inspired play, the stage could be now set for a season-ending showdown to decide the Ivy title. The Crimson’s opponent in that match? Brown, owner of a four-game unbeaten streak against the Crimson.
If there has been a bigger Harvard nemesis than Princeton in recent years, it’s the Bears.
Don’t expect that fact alone to intimidate the Crimson, however. Harvard is young and restless. And as Fritz showed in dismissing Princeton amid the rain last weekend, the old guard of Ivy men’s soccer may soon end up being washed away.
One menace down, one to go.
Atta boy, Ladd.