The Harvard soccer team, which continues to amaze everybody, hosts a tough Tufts squad today at 3 p.m. at the Business School field.
The Jumbos will be no easy touch for the Crimson. Comparing scores against common opponents, Tufts mauled MIT 6-1, while Harvard could manage only a 1-0 victory over the Engineers. The Jumbos defeated Wesleyan, while the Crimson's only blemish on its 6-1-1 record was a loss to Wesleyan. Also, Tufts played a highly-touted Amherst team to a 1-1 deadlock last week. The Lord Jeffs had previously lost to second-ranked Brown by a slight 1-0 margin.
However, Harvard coach George Ford is hopeful about his team's chances. "The Amherst coach told me that he thought they [Tufts] could be taken," Ford said. "He said they're a talented team but they're very defensive-oriented." Against Amherst, Tufts got an early goal and was content to sit on the lead. "He felt that if a quick goal were scored on them they might lose their poise and two or three goals could be zipped in on them," Ford said.
The man Harvard will turn to, of course, will be its leading scorer, sophomore Lyman Bullard. Bullard is the hottest thing going at the moment in New England soccer. He has scored eight goals in his last four games for the Crimson, including all three in a 3-2 victory over Pennsylvania last week.
"Lyman is hot," said Ford, "and we're going to stay with him. We just hope he keeps it up and it rubs off on some of the other players. Heck, he's placed some shots that even Gordon Banks [one of the best soccer goalies in the world] couldn't have stopped. Lyman just sort of has a flair for scoring."
The playing conditions could be a factor in the game. It rained hard last night and the weatherman was predicting showers for early today. All that rain could produce a muddy field for today's encounter. However, the poor conditions might help Harvard more than Tufts. The Crimson relies on a "fast break" offense which involves the use of long passes. A muddy field would be more of a detriment to a short passing game, which is more of the sort that Tufts employs.
Another factor in the contest might be the physical kind of game for which Tufts is noted.
"If they want to be physical, good luck to them," said Ford. "If that's the way they're coached, then fine. My only responsibility is to make sure we win, regardless of how rough we play."
"Penn was supposed to be an aggressive team too," said Bullard, "but they weren't any more so than any other team we faced. Besides, we play an aggressive, hustling game ourselves, so we won't be giving away anything to them."
Another obstacle the Crimson will have to overcome is the possibility of not being "up" for Tufts after last week's big win over Pennsylvania.
"There is the possibility of a letdown, but I don't think it will happen," said Ford. "I think the team realizes that they can shake everybody up in New England, so they go out there with that little extra bit of desire and really want to win "every game."