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A highly vulnerable Harvard varsity soccer team, playing without any major incentive, faces a dark horse Yale squad relishing the role of underdog at 1:30 p.m. this afternoon in New Haven. Nothing is at stake except the Crimson's pride.
Undefeated in 11 games, Harvard clinched the Ivy League title last Saturday with a 2-1 victory over Brown. The next, and last, objective on the Crimson's agenda is the NCAA championship. The achievement of that goal hangs on Monday's elimination match against Brown.
"It's not easy to build up an incentive for today's game," soccer coach Bruce Munro admitted. "Of course it's the Yale game, and that always means something, but the match is very anticlimactic following the Brown victory."
One at a Time
"But our philosophy all season has been to just take the games one at a time," he continued. "We've insisted that the boys just concentrate on the next game, and we've continued with that philosophy this week." As Munro states his policy, it is evident that he is trying to keep his own thoughts, as much as his players', concentrated on Yale.
If Harvard hopes to keep its record setting unbeaten streak intact, Yale offers plenty of threats on which to concentrate. Although the Elis' season record is only 4-3-3, that statistic is very misleading. favorable advantages. Unfortunately for Yale, the Bulldogs' personnel has been physically getting the breaks, Entering its seventh game of the season, the Elis had ten starters sitting on the bench with a variety of afflictions.
At the start of the season, Munro pricked Yale as the team to beat after Penn. "Nearly their whole squad was returning," Munro recalls. "Last season they had the best defense in the Ivy League, and the entire unit consisted of returning lettermen. On offense, Yale is a fine passing team with some extremely dangerous strikers." he said.
But tragedy struck the Bulldogs in their opening game with Wesleyan, as All-American goalie Steve Greenberg suffered a broken right thumb. Greenberg, picked as the nation's second best goalie last year. was sidelined.
Just Another Team
"We're just another team now." coach Hubert Vogelsinger moaned after that game. "We'll be lucky to break even." And Yale won only one of its next eight games.
Greenberg's injury was not the only disabling factor. In its opening Ivy game, Yale lost six starters in a rugged battle with Brown. Sophomore John. Klamar, who scored a record 23 goals as a freshman and had three tallies in two games this season. was badly injured an has not scored again this season. Fullbacks Tom Scattergood and Abu Timbo were also mangled.
With a disannul 1-3-3 record, the Bulldogs regained Greenberg and since then Yale has indicated its real potential. Since Greenberg's reappearance. Yale has a 3-1-1 mark. including a 2-1 victory over Penn.
The threat is more ominous than a first glance reveals. Two of those matches were Greenberg shutouts, and the three victories came in Yale's last three games, Also significantly. Kwaku ('King") Ohene-Frempong, a Yale star last season. scored his first goal of the season last Saturday, and now has totaled four tallies in the last two games.
Greenberg's return to the net, combined with Ohene-Frempong's recent scoring surge. makes Yale a formidable enemy for any team. "Any team that can beat Penn is a damn good team." Munro said after the bulldogs' stunning upset. Roughly translated, that statement means Yale, on a given day. could easily beat Harvard.
A Yale victory would give the Bulldogs a winning season and a third-place finish in the Ivy League. Riding on a three-game winning streak. Yale will not accept defeat easily.
Biding its time until the important NCAA match Monday. Harvard has nothing to win or lose. The Crimson should win, but Bruce Munro fears that today just may be that "given day" that Yale could beat any team, let alone an unenthusiastic squad.
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