Although a 2-1 loss will appear as a defeat in the standings, the Harvard men's soccer team left its encounter with UConn Saturday with a moral victory outplaying the highly regarded Huskies, who are ranked 12th nationally.
Having defeated such formidable opponents as UCLA (2-1) and South Carolina (5-0), UConn was looking for a breather at the Business School field.
What the Huskies found instead was a fired up squad of booters who, but for a pair of shots that hit posts, would have pulled a major upset. The Crimson's record falls to 1-2.
A Husky victory appeared almost a foregone conclusion in the early going as the action rarely strayed from the perimeter of the Crimson goal. And even when it did, Coach George Ford had moved so many strikers back on defense that a concerted charge seemed impossible.
Connecticut's Rick Kren struck first, controlling an attempted clear that lofted high in the air and volleying it past goalie Billy Blood with 9:57 gone in the first half.
As players on both sides conceded after the match, it was a jewel of a goal, and the Huskies appeared ready to pile it on.
But Ford then freed sophomore Mauro Keller-Sarmiento from exile on the bench and he proceeded to ignite a previously non-existant Crimson attack.
Shots began peppering UConn goalie Barry Stirngfellow from all directions, including two near misses--a bullet by John Duggan off a free kick that missed wide by a foot and a turnaround volley by Walter Diaz that sailed high--that augured a Harvard turnaround.
After a fine Keller-Sarmiento corner kick that the Crimson almost converted, Mauro tried a free kick from nearly the same spot. This time he scooted it low toward the goal and Mike Smith redirected it past Stringfellow for a 1-1 tie with 31:19 gone.
But with the goal, the Harvard attack lagged, and the action once again became concentrated on Crimson's side of the field.
A momentary defensive lapse allowed Husky sophomore Pedro DeBrito to take a lead pass from Jim Lyman, break away from the pack, and blast the ball through Blood for the final score of the afternoon with 6:49 remaining in the first half.
In the second half, the Ford defensive strategy began to pay off. The Crimson allowed the Huskies to bring the ball unimpeded, then collapsed on the ball and allowed the opponents to advance no further. "We let them come up to midfield, then tackled them, and we were going strong," Keller-Sarmiento said afterwards.
But not strong enough to convince the scoreboard. The game clearly swung back in the Crimson's direction, with Diaz again nearly coming up with the goods. With 14:45 left, he rocketed a bullet from the right side that hit the meat of the top cross-bar and bounded away. With it went the hopes of giant-killing at the Business School.
NOTEBOOK: Sophomore goalie Peter Walsh has decided to take the semester off, leaving the netminding duties to Blood.
A Barnburner and a Blow-Out:Unbelievable. That was the word on everyone's lips Saturday after Harvard basketball's latest setback, which dropped the team's record to
Huskies Snap Booter's Winning Streak at TenThe Harvard women's soccer team's 4-2 loss to UConn yesterday afternoon was not the scenario the booters had planned. The
No. 4 Connecticut Squeaks Past No. 12 Harvard, 2-1If Kristen Bowes had one thing to do over in her life, there's not much doubt as to what it
Icewomen Trip UConn Huskies, 8-1, Glide to First Win of the SeasonThe Harvard women's hockey team found its scoring touch somewhere near Storrs. Connecticut, last night, erupting for eight goals en
15th-Ranked Booters Stun Sixth-Ranked Huskies, 1-1The University of Connecticut women's soccer team will be seeing Crimson for a long time after the leaves fall from
Notorious G.I.Z.In the 82nd minute of the Harvard women's soccer team's 2-0 loss to No. 3 and unbeaten Connecticut yesterday, Harvard