There they were, in bold black figures on a white background--foot-high digits on the Business School soccer field scoreboard Wednesday, making it official: Harvard 5, Wesleyan 2, and the Crimson had its first soccer win in 11 games.
The victory, ending a string of frustrations dating back to October 4, 1976, was sweet for the booters. On that day 51 weeks ago the Crimson won its last varsity soccer game, downing UMass, 4-2.
After the UMass game, Coach George Ford's booters simply lost their zip, dropping eight straight games before tying Yale, 1-1, in the season finale. This year's team dropped its opener 3-1 on September 17, on a rain-soaked Columbia field, to extend the winless streak to ten games.
The past did not matter Wednesday, though--what did matter was that the Crimson put together one of its finest games in recent memory to put away the Cardinals. Senior captain Fred "Fredo" Herold, who has capably tended Harvard's nets for the last two years, was grinning ear-to-ear after the contest.
"Yeah," Fredo conceded without too much trouble, "that game felt real good."
The string of losses, of course, remains imprinted on Herold's mind. Asked if he remembers the UMass victory last October, Fredo replied, "Sure, I can tell you about that one, and I can tell you about each of the ten games since then."
It was clear, though, that he did not really want to talk about those ten games. Herold had had fun in goal against Wesleyan, and the topic of discussion switched quickly back to that game.
"Those four goals in the first half will give the line a lot of confidence which we didn't have before," Herold said. "We showed we could do some really nice passing, too."
And Herold had an explanation for the improvement since the Columbia opener: "We've integrated in the freshmen midfielders Andy Kronfeld and Michael Smith, and forward Walter Diaz, and that's the big difference."
Not only did the freshmen play well their first time out in a Crimson uniforn, but reassigned midfielders Matt Bowyer (to right wing) and John Sanacore (to left fullback) turned in outstanding games against Wesleyan.
The way it looks, the only big problem for Ford's squad will be the schedule. The Ivy League may have the toughest competition in the nation, and all seven teams--especially Brown--will be strong this fall.
After Wednesday's performance, though, the ballplayers have at least the confidence, if not yet the ability, to take the Ivy crown. Said Sanacore, "I'm sure we're going to be in every game. We're going to challenge every team we play."
For now, the tough upcoming schedule is distant from the Crimson booters' thoughts. At least until Tuesday, when Harvard takes on UMass at Amherst, the soccer team will be savoring a win over Wesleyan that was so-o-o-o sweet.
Junior sweeperback Jim Langton, talking about the win Wednesday night, summarized the game more succinctly, and probably better, than anyone else. Said Langton. "It's good to win."
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