The Harvard men's soccer team put a new twist on the end of the same old story yesterday, waiting until early in the first overtime period to snatch two quick goals and a 3-1 victory over the UMass Minutemen at the Business School Field.
With the score knotted at one-all at the end of regulation play, the Crimson took the field determined to take charge. The red-clad Minutemen appeared helpless to put up a fight, and before any of the 53 spectators had shifted their attention from the UMass cheerleaders, Crimson fullback John Lyons had hit the twines with what proved to be the winning goal.
Lyons, positioned at the 12 yard mark on the right side of the box, received a quick pass from senior captain Michael Smith just 40 seconds into the OT period. Maneuvering deftly to his right, he then released a rifle shot directly at UMass goaltender Brett Olsher.
Olsher got his hands on the ball, but it slipped past him and bounded into the lower left corner of the net. The tally made the score 2-1.
Fourth of July
The Crimson squad didn't let the fireworks end there. Just a minute and a half later, John Duggan got the credit for a goal which was actually the joint effort of half a dozen swarming Crimson attackers. Duggan emerged from a crowd of players on the left side of the box at the 18 yard mark, and let loose a diagonal shot which cleanly beat the UMass goalie, and made the score 3-1.
The game wound its way through regulation play in typical Harvard fashion. The squad at times took absolute control of the flow of action, but obstinately refused to score. In the first half alone, the Crimson offensive machine sputtered in the face of three open nets and two breakaway attempts, in spite of some excellent playing midfield.
Coach George Ford instituted a 4-3-3 line-up in place of the usual 4-4-2, choosing to put some added offensive pressure on the UMass goal. The strategy worked, but only if you count absolute numbers of shots as an indication of a team's offensive firepower.
Mauro Keller-Sarmiento, Lance Ayrault, and Smith manned the front line, and along with the support of several strong performances at the midfield positions, continually put heavy pressure on the UMass goal.
For once, the booters seemed to be playing Ford's kind of game. It's called ball control, and for long stretches in yesterday's game, the squad played to perfection. Even when forced to go to their unfortunate long ball style, the passes were accurate and the offense clicked.
That is, it clicked up to a point, and that point was located roughly 20 yards from the net. Inside the penalty area, the offense self-destructed. The crowd, and the players, sensed that the team would never score. Ever.
Keller-Sarmiento and Steve Higginson changed that at 23:00 into the second half, with a beautiful drive down the right side of the field. After some fancy dribbling at midfield, Keller-Sarmiento unleashed a twisting, but well placed pass to Higginson, standing about five yards in front of the net. The sophomore forward eased around a too-anxious UMass goalie, and casually dropped the ball over the line to make the score 1-0.
Given the pace of the game, that should have been sufficient. But apparently not content to go home after just 90 minutes of play, the booters meekly turned the other cheek and let the Minutemen tie the score at 27:13.
The Harvard tally looked a whole lot nicer, but UMass's was just as effective. Following an apparently wasted corner kick opportunity, Tony G. Dias came up with the ball and, in the midst of a scramble, somehow pushed a pass to teammate Tony M. Dias, who side kicked the ball past Crimson goalie Pete Walsh to tie the score. (Tony J. Diaz, a Harvard forward, did not play because of injury.)