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NEW YORK--The Columbia Lions retained their position at the apex of Ivy soccer power in a muddy battle with Harvard here at Baker Field Saturday, snatching a 3-1 win.
Shahin of Tehran, Iran, proved to be the spiritual and physical leader of the Lions. Last year's Ivy scoring champ tallied once and caused confusion and excitement every time he touched the ball.
It wasn't how badly Harvard played that made this game disturbing--it was how they played badly. The Crimson has retained all of last year's bad habits. It controlled the ball fairly well until the strikers reached the Lion penalty area and defended effectively until sloppiness overcame the back lines in front of the Harvard goal.
The public address told the pitiful story when it gave the second half statistics: "Shots on goal--Harvard--zero." "We need someone to take it on himself to shoot," coach George Ford understated after the game.
On defense, goalie Peter Walsh made several sensational saves, but his own sloppiness led to two of Columbia's goals. With the score knotted at 1-1, Columbia began to apply pressure. Tommy Panayotidi caught Walsh out of the nets and dribbled the ball in the net at 29:41.
The Lions continued to let Harvard beat itself when, five minutes into the second half, Walsh let a looping cross go through his arms and onto the foot of Steve Charles, who blasted the checkered spheroid through the goal.
Six-ft. five-in. Lion goaltender John McElaney used his octopus-like arms to stymie all Harvard activity in the vicinity of the Columbia goal. But Crimson left wing Alberto Villar, back in action this year after being sidelined last year with a rare tropical disease that inhibited his ability to sweat, fooled McElaney with a long, right-footed hook to the upper right hand corner of the nets for a 1-0 lead.
Visions of an upset were quickly blurred, however, as Shayan connected on one of his scad of breakaway opportunities to tie the contest.
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