The Key, now, is not to get too excited. Don't fly off the handle. Just because Harvard won its soccer opener 3-0 is no reason to run down Mt. Auburn St. yelling and cheering. Stay cool.
Granted, Harvard did score more goals against Wesleyan Wednesday than the team did its first three games last season. And granted it drubbed a team that had beaten it 1-0 last year. But that's simply not enough justification for all-night rowdiness and gleeful celebration.
And it's not evidence for Ivy League predictions of a first-place Crimson finish. I mean, the coach, George Ford, is not that exuberant yet. Did Harvard look like Ivy champions against Wesleyan? "No, not really," he replied, "not yet anyway."
Brown is not excited, not about Harvard anyway. The Bruins return virtually the entire team that went undefeated in the league last year. Nine returning starters, including the league's top scorer, Fred Pereira, make Brown a runaway favorite to win the title again this season.
Ford's squad will have a tough time overhauling the Bruins, so don't get your hopes up. But the second-year coach is not entirely pessimistic, either.
"We're further along now than we were at this time last year," Ford said after the opening victory. "Last year we were disciplined, this year we are fitter and have more skills. Last year we were a team of runners and we would win the ball a lot, but lose it just as quickly. This year we can keep it up."
Certainly, with most of last year's players back (all with a bit more skill) and a more talented bench (as shown by Steve Hines' performance in substitution for Geoff Hargadon), Harvard will not be such a surprise for another second-place Ivy finish.
The other challengers? Penn again looks strong, especially at midfield and on the backline. The Quakers, like Harvard, will have only one problem--finding a consistent scoring attack. All-Ivy forward Santiago formosa is playing on the Pan Am team and will not be around this season.
Cornell is also going to be tough on defense, as they have been in the past, but this year the Big Red is talking offense too. That remains to be seen.
Yale has 14 return lettermen and a good crop of freshmen according to scouting reports, and will attempt to repeat its 1973 season, when the Elis made the NCAA district playoffs.
Frank Gallo, the 1973 Ivy scoring champ who spent most of last season on the sideline with injuries is back for Dartmouth and the Big Green is bound to improve. Princeton, meanwhile, has nowhere to go but up, as the Tigers lost all of their league games last year. Princeton should have good depth (15 returning lettermen and some good freshmen), but again the squad might have trouble putting the ball in the net.
Columbia, they tell me, had a large preseason turnout and says the squad will go places this year. But then, it seems they say that every year.
The league schedule begins tonight, as Penn tests it contender credentials against Brown under the lights in Philly. Should the Quakers, inspired by a throng of frenetic rooters at Franklin Field, upset the Bruins, then you can figure out Harvard's magic number for an Ivy soccer title.
Until then, stay calm and try to look like you don't care.