UConn Sneaks Past Booters

Harvard's Bid Just Misses

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.

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