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After the Harvard women's soccer team washed up Bowdoin, 1-0, Saturday at Soldiers Field, Crimson coach Bob Scalise said, "It was a draining game."
But if the game was draining, it didn't show on the field as widespread puddles hindered the players' speed and ball control and made scoring difficult.
Only the persistent aggressiveness of the Crimson squad seemed to work against Mother Nature; and finally, late in the second half, Harvard scored.
With only seven minutes left to play, Harvard fullback Sara Fischer hit a long shot which skidded to a halt in a puddle in front of the goal line. From there, Crimson co-captain Julie Brynteson netted it for a splashing goal.
Ark of Triumph
"As the game went on, we got mad that the ball had not gone in," Brynteson said. "After we scored, we all thought 'well it's about time.'"
The Crimson dominated the entire game--outshooting the Bears 20-6--and under fairer conditions the final score probably would have been more lopsided.
"The forwards had some very good ideas, and on a drier field you would have seen some brilliant plays," Scalise said. "On rainy days, you score goals by gutsing it out and getting your foot on the ball at the right moment."
The biggest problem for both teams seemed to be overrunning the ball, which had a tendency to take long baths on its way down the field.
But the rain affected the Crimson forwards--especially Cat Ferrante--most, since they could not play their usual fast-paced game.
Overall the Crimson appeared to adjust to the less-than-favorable conditions better than the Polar Bears, whose short-wall passes were not as effective as Harvard's long chip shots.
For the most part, sheer determination allowed the Crimson to penetrate Bowdoin's defense.
"When the ball was in a puddle we just kicked and kicked and kicked until it was out," Brynteson said. "And when everyone is trying hard on a team, you're not going to be a wimp."
The defense--with Wendy Carle in the net in the first half and Barb Mahon in goal in the second half--looked as tough as the offense, and it appears that teams will have another difficult year scoring against Harvard.
Green With Envy
Fischer helped take some pressure off the fullbacks in the second half with some nice fakes while Harvard freshman Jeanne Piersiak took advantage of the slippery field and came up with a slide tackle that would have made any rugby player jealous.
While the Crimson could not help but be physically affected by the weather, the squad's mental attitude remained intact.
"Our coaching prepares us for anything," Brynteson said. "Bob makes it clear that we'll play under any conditions, and we'll play our best."
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