The Harvard men's soccer team overcame nagging injuries to outplay Penn Saturday in a scoreless battle at the Business School Field.
Laryngitis-ridden Dave Eaton missed the game entirely for the Crimson and a number of Harvard's key players battled bothersome leg problems. Mauro Keller-Sarmiento came back after missing two games but still ran somewhat gingerly on a tender ankle that a cut up, muddy field made even more of a handicap.
Mike Mogollan played despite a groin strain that has bothered him for several games. John Duggan sat out after the first half due to pulled groin muscle injured last Wednesday.
Hampered by these injuries, Harvard had trouble developing any rhythm. While Penn could not penetrate the Crimson defense. Harvard was unable to create goal-scoring opportunities during the first 20 minutes.
Even after Mogollan, Keller-Sarmiento and Alberto Villar entered the contest, Harvard still couldn't make the precision passes or find the timing needed to threaten Penn goalie Jim Tabak.
Only in the second half did Harvard finally come alive. Mogollan, helped especially by Walter Diaz's younger brother. Tony, and by Mike Smith, moved the ball around quickly and purposefully creating a number of scoring chances.
Tony Diaz helped develop a second chance with a short pass to Mogollan on the right wing. Mogollan then dumped a lead pass to Smith inside Penn's last fullback for a chip shot that went only a foot over the bar.
Keller-Sarmiento actually created Harvard's first near miss. A short time into the half he pivoted near the right side of the penalty area, releasing a deceptively hard shot that only a full-length Tabak save could keep away from the back of the net.
Penn fullback Glenn Etter thwarted Harvard's best opportunity with just ten minutes left in the game. Mogollan seemed to have a break-away as he ran onto a beautiful pass from Smith near the edge of the penalty box. Only a superb left-footed tackle from behind by Etter saved Tabak from what would have been his toughest test of the day.
Penn did threaten occasionally during the half, but the few Quaker shots went over the crossbar or wide. Harvard goalkeeper Bill Blood earned his keep by racing off the line to punch the ball clear on a number of dangerous crosses.
The 20 minutes of overtime passed relatively tamely. Walter Diaz uncorked one hard, low shot; but it went straight into Tabak's arms, and the score remained. 0-0.