Remember David and Goliath? The New York Jets and the Baltimore Colts? The New York Mets? Princeton's varsity soccer team has been studying that moral all week, and the Tigers are planning to apply for the part at 10:30 a.m. when they face the Crimson on Cumnock Field in the final home game of the season.
Princeton lies at the bottom of the Ivy League with an 0-3-1 record. The Tigers have scored the second fewest goals in the League (6) and have allowed the second most tallies (11). Meanwhile, back in the camp of the Philistines, Harvard is undefeated in eight games and now ranks second in the nation.
But Princeton has many attributes that don't fit the underdog role and could very easily make it the star of the show. Although the Tigers are winless in the Ivy League, their overall record is 5-3-1. Included in that record is a 7-0 victory over Swarthmore, a team that powerful Penn could only edge, 2-1.
The Tigers have also peaked in their last two games. Against the Quakers, Princeton held the lead mid-way through the third quarter and never was out of contention in a 2-1 loss. Last Saturday, perennial soccer power Brown could only salvage a 1-1 tie through two overtime periods.
"Any team that gives Penn a hard game has to be strong," Harvard coach Bruce Munro said. "The Quakers coach told me his team had to go all out to beat Princeton. It was no fluke game."
Sophomore Phil Kydes offered an explanation for the Tigers recent successes. "They are out of the Ivy race, so they have nothing to lose. The Tigers are really determined to give an all-out effort and upset somebody," Kydes said. "Brown almost fell; by God, they'll be out to get us."
Princeton has some outstanding talent besides its "devil-may-care" attitude, Senior Steve Davidson has scored 17 goals already this season. Assisting him is forward Boneventure Mbida, an extremely exciting foreign exchange student.
But the significant advantage for Princeton today may be the Boston weather. The hard, steady rains all week, combined with the fact that the junior varsity used Cumnock Field yesterday, have made playing conditions less than superb.
Princeton emphasizes a strong, hard-hitting defense with long passes to the offense, while Harvard relies on one of the fastest forward and halfback lines in the nation. Wet conditions would definitely aid the Tigers' slow-game strategy.
Penn played its heart out in the opening minutes of last Saturday's game, and the vicious Quaker offensive stunned the Crimson for an entire quarter. But when they failed to score despite dominating play, the Quakers were demoralized and lost in the second quarter.
Princeton will probably also start with a kamikaze attack in the opening minutes. If the Crimson can hold the Tigers, Harvard will remain undefeated. But remember, Goliath lost in the opening minutes.