A bevy of ducks and a beach ball were more suited for Saturday's weather than the Harvard and Cornell booters and the black and white sphere they played with.
But the Big Red squad proved the prettier duckling as Cornell topped Harvard, 2-0, on the B-School field.
The Crimson, now 1-1 in the league, 2-3 overall, is mired in the middle of the Ivy standings.
The weather was the story of the game. Conventional soccer strategy dictates long chips on water-drenched fields.
But things are rarely simple for coaches and the storm whipped up gale force winds which made the long ball a game of Russian roulette. Kicks directly into the wind often behaved like boomerangs.
Harvard made this discovery first by the luck of the coin flip. Cornell put constant pressure on Crimson netminder Fred Herold early, resulting in a weather-aided goal at seven minutes. John Landis netted the slippery ball when Herold was unable to hold his initial shot.
Harvard was continually frustrated in its attempts to counter the Cornell offensive, most notably in trying to hit right wing Lyman Bullard, who was hanging at mid-field all by himself. Dave Eaton came closest to tying the score, hitting the crossbar on a direct kick midway through the first half.
Cornell broke the Crimson's backs at 11:45 of the second half when John Reisinger's windblown 30-foot shot settled into the back of the net. That was it as the combatants spent the rest of the game sloshing around and watching passes stop in the middle of growing puddles. Harvard coach George Ford resorted to yelling, "Keep the ball out of the water."
Harvard also had to keep an eye on Cornell. It won in spite of the weather, not because of it, out-playing the Crimson. "They adjusted better to the conditions than we did," Ford said after the game.
"They had some real nice crosses," Bullard said. Cornell used the long ball surprisingly well. The team changed the ball at mid-field effectively and pumped the goal area with crosses from the corners.
Bullard added, "We couldn't control the middle. On Tuesday [UMass] we did and we were able to suck their backs in." The Cornell fullbacks stayed back making it hard for Harvard to put the ball through and over for its three forwards.
Cornell goalie and co-captain, Dan Mackesey, played a sharp game, as did Harvard goalie Herold, handling the wet ball with apparent ease.
Defending Ivy champion Cornell goes into a grudge match with Brown next Saturday sporting a 5-0-2 record, 2-0 in the Ivies. Brown, also undefeated, overcame Cornell in last year's NCAA playoffs.
The Crimson play at Amherst tomorrow before travelling to Dartmouth on Saturday. Maybe the sun will shine again.