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A talented but unproven Harvard varsity soccer team, still sifting and shuffling personnel and only now beginning to settle on a starting line up, plunges into the fray with the traditional season opener this afternoon at 3:30 at MIT.
With seven of eleven starters gone from this year's team, coach Bruce Munro, now starting his 25th season as Harvard head coach, had to fill quite a few positions when his team returned this fall. But, on the basis of a 3-1 scrimmage win against a well-drilled Amherst team that has been together since the beginning of the month, it seems the replacements are already plugging the holes well.
The precision teamwork necessary for a run at the Ivy title, however, probably won't be expected or needed today against the Engineers, who have never posed a serious threat to Harvard's Cambridge soccer hegemony. "We usually show up and expect to win." Munro said yesterday. "Once in a while they come up with a good team, but we never really know too much about them."
Munro will probably be interested in knowing more about his own squad and assessing its strengths and weaknesses. "The team probably won't be settled for a couple of more games," assistant coach Chris Wilmot said yesterday, "and all these guys are in contention, if not for the starting eleven at least for the eighteen man squad."
Whatever experimentation is tried, the starting eleven is--for the most part--fairly set, but a few spots are still open. On the line Felix Adedeji and Chris Papaginis, as potent a one-two scoring tandem in the Ivy league, will return at forward and right wing respectively. Highly-rated advanced standing sophomore Bent Hinze will occupy the other forward spot, with Demetrio Meno or Dragan Vijovic on the left wing. It is an offense that will score, score, score.
Defense, this year's major question mark, will probably not be severely tested today. If the starters gain confidence quickly, and if the newly implemented disgonal formation functions as on peoted, the defender could surprise. Starters Rick LaClvita, Captain Rick Scott, and Brian Fearnett are all "very accomplished." Wilmot said, and the fourth, Henry Sideropoulos, seems to be adjusting quickly after making the switch from halfback to fullback this year. Henry "has the makings of a good fullback," he added.
The talent is there, the coaching is there, but whether the Ivy tide and the number three but whether the Ivy title and the number three national ranking are there may take some time to determine.
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