Solomon Gomez and Charlie Thomas each scored twice yesterday to lead Harvard's undefeated varsity soccer team to a 5-0 demolition of Southern Connecticut State in the first round of the NCAA District 1 University Regional Tournament.
In another New England semifinal contest. Brown edged Bridgeport 2-1 and earned the right to replay Harvard in Cambridge next Monday afternoon. The Crimson and Bruins are now only two victories from a winter trip to sunny San Jose, California, for the national championship.
The Business School field was extremely slippery and both teams found footing difficult throughout the game. In the opening minutes the Owls' short passing game controlled the ball while their four fullbacks and loose turf stymied the Crimson attack.
But at the end of the first period, Solomon Gomez took a free direct kick from just outside the penalty area A line of seven Owls gave Gomez virtually no opening to the net, but the Gambian super-star blasted a line drive that smashed off the left post of the goal and caromed out.
The entire net shook and so did the Owls. Harvard dominated play after that shot.
Harvard opened the scoring at 3:49 of the second session. After three unsuccessful direct kicks on goal, Pete Bogovich trickled a free kick forward to Gomez, who looped a shot that bounced in front of the net. The Owls goalie misjudged the bounce and the ball bounded right through his arms.
Crimson strategy fooled Southern Connecticut on the next indirect kick. As Bogovich rushed toward the ball, Phil Kydes just tapped it, and Bogovich's direct shot salled past the surprised goalle.
Two minutes later Gomez clinched the victory when he outraced the Owls fourman fullback line and drilled a shot into the corner of the goal for a 3-0 halftime lead.
The tempo of the game dropped considerably in the second half. As the Owls fell farther behind, they concentrated more on a face-saving defense rather than on any offensive attack. A sign of the certainty of victory. Russ Bell spent the third quarter signing autographs for the fans.
At the start of the fourth quarter, 50 spectators humiliated the Owls by changing ends with the Owls' goalie, but Charlie Thomas justified their trek with two picture goals. At 5:10 of the final stanza. Thomas faked the Owls' goalie to his right and shot the ball on the ground past his outstretched left arm. With 10 minutes left in the game, Thomas outraced the goalie to a loose ball and scored the fifth and final tally.
The Crimson's performance rewrote most of the Harvard soccer record book. The victory was Harvard's eleventh straight, eleventh of the season, and seventh shutout-all Crimson records. The five goals brought Harvard's season total to 43, tying the mark set in ten games in 1965.