The varsity soccer team stretched its winning streak to fourteen games Saturday afternoon as it defeated Hartwick College, 1-0, on the B-School field. The double overtime victory gave the Crimson booters the NCAA Eastern Regional crown and boosted them into the semifinals for the national championship being played in San Jose, California.
Over 4000 spectators watched two teams so evenly matched that 97 minutes, 37 seconds elapsed before a ball even entered a net. Ironically, it took a Crimson halfback. John Gordon, to knock in that ball after both offensive lines had failed to score.
After the game. Crimson coach Bruce Munro sighed and managed to raise a small smile. "What can I say? We played a good game. It was a good team effort. except for the fact that the line did not play together until that last goal."
The Hartwick Warciors dominated play during the first half-only by a small margin. however. Frequently, they were a step ahead of the Crimson booters and their passing was steadier. Harvard was excellent when the ball was on the ground. but the Warriors kept the ball in the air and their head passes were more accurate than those of the Crimson.
Goalie Bill Meyers played another good game, recording his tenth shutout, but his fullbacks were superb and they consistently stifled the Warriors' freshman threats, Alec Papadakis and Phil Russo. Under NCAA rules a soccer team is allowed to field a team with freshmen: the Ivies do not allow it.
Another outstanding Hartwick freshman-who has an excellent chance of becoming an All-American by the end of his sophomore year-is goalie Frank Van Der Sommen. Whereas Meyers, hampered by an injured knee. let the ball come to him many of the times, Van Der Sommen continually moved out of the crease to catch high kicks and passes, cutting off possible scoring threats. "It may be a sacrilegious thing to say, but I think Hartwicks' goalie outplayed Meyers." one Crimson fan said after the game.
The third period started out slowly for the Crimson. Hartwick once again took the initiative, but could not get past the Crimson fullbacks. On one play, the Warriors charged Meyers with three forwards. Sophomore fullback Chris Wilmot-whom Munro calls the "sweeper" on his 3-man defense-managed to turn away one Warrior, block the other two, and gain possession of the ball.
Near the end of the third period, the Crimson booters began to move. The ball stayed almost exclusively on the Hartwick side of the field. Howeer, Harvard could not put the ball past Van Der Sommen.
The Crimson clearly had the edge in the fourth period and nearly won the game in regulation time. Charlie Thomas missed a goal from about seven yards out. It was so close that many of the Harvard fans began to cheer wildly and one seasoned professional sports writer was heard saying. "Why I was almost positive that went in Didn't it go in, huh, didn't it?"
The gun sounded, and the score stood. 0-0. After a five minute rest, play began once more. Harvard had the ball in Hartwick territory for almost the whole overtime period. They did manage to get one corner kick. (If the game had gone on for four overtime periods without a goal, the team with the most corner kicks would have been declared the winner.)
The second overtime period began. Harvard once more pressured Van Der Sommen, but seemed impotent. Then with barely 35 seconds left in the period. Gomez got the ball near mid-field and started to bring it in towards the goalie. He saw Charlie Thomas on the side and fed him the ball.
Thomas took it. faked a fullback and a goalie, and then passed across the front of the net to Gordon who did not have a defender near him, and proceeded to put it in the far corner of the net. It was Gordon's first goal of the season.
Fans poured out onto the field. Gordon was lifted into the air by exhuberant teammates, and the seasoned sports reporter was heard saying. "Now, that one went in."
Peebles Brings Bubbly
In the fieldhouse, the team loosened up, and let the champagne flow. Rufus Peebles, freshman adviser, played host and provided the champagne.
Thomas was seen running around the second floor of Dillon with a tape recorder playing Dionne Warwick's hit, "Do You Know the Way to San Jose." Some booters got hold of coach Munro and pushed him into the shower, fully-clothed.
The team left for San Jose early this morning. They will practice tomorrow and Wednesday, and face St. Louis in the first game of the semifinals. Thursday night. If they can get past the number one ranked team in the nation, they will compete for the national crown on Saturday against either Maryland or San Francisco State.