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Harvard soccer is back.
In a major upset of a topsy-turvy season Harvard defeated UMass (third-ranked in New England), 2-1, in double overtime.
The win, coming on the heels of last week's whitewash of Wesleyan, establishes the Crimson as a team to be reckoned with in the already chaotic Ivy league. The "streak" is also the first time since October 1975 that Harvard has put together two wins in a row.
A Lee Nelson goal with 7:31 gone in the second overtime decided the defensive struggle. Nelson dribbled past the UMass goalie and rolled the ball into the net for the clincher. Bob Carey was credited with the assist.
UMass tallied first in the game, at 15 minutes into the first half. The Minutemen's leading scorer, Tom Kotsoukos (eight goals in four games) slapped a header past Crimson goalie Fred Herold.
Harvard came right back but was unable to score in the half as a few shots ricocheted off the post. Much of the play centered around midfield as both teams exhibited extremely tight defenses.
Ten minutes after the intermission, the Crimson got the all-important next goal, pulling even with UMass. Walter Diaz, one of the freshman connection, took a feed from back John Sanacore and blasted away.
UMass pressured Harvard the rest of the way, missing two big opportunities, but the Crimson defense held.
The defensive play was very encouraging for Harvard as the backs were considered the biggest question mark in the team. But they held an offense that had scored 15 goals in three previous games and that must be considered by Harvard's future Ivy rivals. Freshman Mike Smith played an especially strong game on defense.
Harvard carries a 2-1 record into this weekend's match with 4-1 defending Ivy champion, Cornell. Nelson now leads the squad with three goals, followed by Diaz with two.
The Crimson Junior Varsity opened its season yesterday against UMass, falling to the Minutemen, 3-0.
Harvard was unable to get untracked and was outplayed most of the way. UMass, which had some valuable experience under its belt, scored once in the first half and twice more in the second.
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