Okay, quiz time. What Harvard team is currently having the best fall season?
Of course, you say, it's the football team. A sparkling 3-0 record, including an astonishing upset of Army this past weekend, has put visions of Ivy League titles in everyone's heads.
If you guessed the women's soccer team, then you already know. If you didn't, why not stop down to the Business School Field this afternoon at 3:30 for the game against Brown and see women's soccer at its best. Enjoyment guaranteed.
With a 4-0 record that includes shutouts in their first three games, plus a number one ranking in the New England women's soccer poll, the women booters have picked up right where they left off last year when they ended the season by tying Cortland State, 1-1, in the Eastern regional finals.
In their four games so far this year, the booters' play has been characterized by an explosive offense--one that busted out for seven goals against B.U.--and a swarming, relentless defense, which didn't give up a goal for the first 315 minutes and 18 seconds of the season.
This unusual combination of a strong offense and a strong defense makes for some interesting shots-on-goal ratios. The Crimson outshot Tufts 27-2 and B.U., 28-5.
Against Brown, which returns all 11 starters from last year, the totals should not be nearly as lopsided. The Bruins own a 4-2 record, including wins over Cortland State and UMass, the only team to beat the Crimson last year.
And the Bruins come into Cambridge with a vengeance, after losing three times to the Crimson last season, and having to look back three seasons for their last win over Harvard.
Brown's offense has a lot of firepower--they have scored at least three goals in four of its six games--and the Crimson wing fullbacks may have to keep both eyes trained on speedy winger Frances Fusce, an All-Ivy selection last season, who leads the team with three goals and four assists.
On defense, the Bruins boast All-Ivy sweeper Yvonne Goldsberry, who has given Crimson co-captain and center Sue St. Louis fits for the last two seasons.
"We're going to try to jump on them right from the start," St. Louis, who is slowed by a pulled muscle, said "to intimidate them and get a psychological advantage in the first ten minutes."
One Crimson player who won't be doing any jumping is junior left wing Cat Ferrante, who injured her left foot on Friday against Smith. Ferrante, the team leader with five goals--all in the last two games--will watch the Brown game from the sidelines.
In addition, midfielder Laurie Gregg, a visiting junior from Lehigh and one of the team's standouts so far this season, may not be at full strength because of a lingering back injury.
But if the Crimson has any strengths, depth is one of its greatest, and Crimson coach Bob Scalise has a number of options for replacing Ferrante and Gregg.
Freshman striker Joan Elliott, and sophomores Kelly Gately and Laura Mayer, who alternate between wing and wing fullback, give the Crimson excellent play across the front line.
In the midfield the consistent play of co-captain Gia Johnson and senior Sara Fischer anchors the halfback line along with Gregg. Wendy Sonnabond provides strong back-up play.
Center fullback Jeannie Piersiak owns the defensive end of the field and Susan Rockwell and either Gately or Mayer fill out a strong defensive wall.
In the nets, freshman Ann Diamond has not allowed a goal, with back up Dana Warren almost as effective, letting just one shot get past her.
In the words of Gia Johnson, "It's a game you'll like to watch."