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Without even donning any spooky Halloween costumes, the Harvard soccer team managed to put a tremendous scare into Brown before succumbing to the Bruins, 3-2 Saturday night in Providence.
"We played the best we've played all year, no doubt about that," captain Fred Herold said yesterday. "It was a tough one to lose, a real heartbreaker," he added.
The Crimson came out like a house on fire in the first half, jumping out to a 2-0 lead over New England's top-ranked team. Freshman Andy Kronfeld opened the scoring with the first goal of his varsity career six minutes into the contest.
The goal came when high-scoring Lee Nelson headed a chip shot from standout sophomore midfielder John Sanacore to the streaking Kronfeld, who drilled it inside the far post.
"Lee put it right on my foot, and then the goalie came out, I deked him and put it in the far corner. But Lee really set me up perfectly," the unselfish Kronfeld said yesterday.
Nelson assisted again on Harvard's second tally less than ten minutes later when he sent a long crossing pass from the left corner to junior forward Matt Bowyer, who trapped it, cut back across the grain, and rocketed a blistering left-footed shot into the upper left corner to make it 2-0.
While the Crimson's first half explosion temporarily silenced the packed house at Brown's home field, the Bruins themselves never lost their composure. Brown's Tom Gertken answered Bowyer's blast with an unassisted goal of his own just minutes later, and the stunned but confident Bruins headed to the locker room with a 2-1 halftime deficit.
"It's very hard to stay ahead against a team like Brown," goalie Herold lamented yesterday. 'There's just so much talent," he added. Sure enough, Harvard was unable to sit on their lead as the star-studded Bruins opened the second stanza with two quick goals that buried the Crimson.
With just two minutes gone in the half, Brown's Greg Leather picked up a rebound after a diving save by Herold, and booted it to the near side of the still-recovering Crimson netminder to know the score at two.
"That second goal of theirs, coming so early in the half, really hurt us--it was a tough goal," Herold commented.
Just minutes later, Brown capitalized on an error by the temporarilty-deflated Crimson defense to score the game-winner. The Bruins' Tom O'Brien came swooping in alone down the left side, and when Herold came out to stop the breakaway, O'Brien crossed the ball to superstar Peter von Beek, who tapped it into the empty net to put Brown ahead to stay.
After that, the Crimson contained the talented Bruins, but couldn't capitalize on any of their numerous scoring opportunities. Herold was full of praise for his stingy defense. "Our 'D' played very well. Brown's a good, very deceptive offensive team," he said.
Despite the loss, the Crimson's performance shouldn't hurt them in the New England Coaches' Poll, where they are locked in a three-way dogfight for the fourth spot and final playoff berth with BU and Dartmouth.
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