As far as the Ivy League championship was concerned, the men's soccer season had ended weeks ago with a 2-0 drubbing at the hands of an underdog Princeton squad.
There was no NCAA tournament berth either; Boston University had already been named to fill the Eastern wildcard slot.
But, as they say around Dillon Field House and 60 Boylston St., the season began and ended on Saturday morning when the Crimson met Yale at the Business School Field.
In contrast to The Season, which ended sourly on regional television later that afternoon, the soccer team finished its Season with a perfect 1-0 record, out-playing the Elis for a 2-1 victory. The 1980 season also ended Saturday, with the Crimson sporting a much-improved 10-4-1 record.
"This is the best game we've had all year," fullback Frank RiCapito said at halftime. "It has been the hardest fought, but not the best played."
RiCapito wasn't kidding. Emotion and intensity--with the resulting physicality--overshadowed skill and finesse, but then, this was the Yale Game. And in most parts of the world, they even call it football.
That aggressiveness--if you don't count Crimson goalie Ben Erulcar--was the one outstanding characteristic of a ragged game.
The sliding tackles of fullbacks John Duggan and RiCapito took on a more brutal nature than usual, and their Eli counterparts returned the effort.
The officials duly noted the general tenor of play by handing out six yellow cards, five to Bulldogs and one to an innocent-looking Richard Berkman.
The rough play, in fact, directly accounted for the Crimson victory. With the score tied 1-1, 27 minutes into the first half, offensive catalyst Mauro Keller-Sarmiento broke for the goal, splitting the Yale fullbacks and dribbling directly out in front of the net to about the 15-yard mark.
That was as far as he got. Two Yale defenders tripped him up from behind, and senior captain Michael Smith was awarded a rare penalty shot. Smith made good, blasting the ball into the lower left corner, for the eventual game-winner.
Another of the Crimson's three seniors had put his squad out in front just five and a half minutes into the game. Andy Kronfeld chipped home a Lance Ayrault assist to put Harvard up, 1-0.
The lead didn't last long--only to the 20:20 mark of the first half. Although the Harvard defense had been containing--if not dominating--the Yale attack, Colin McElvoy sent a pass from deep in the left corner of the Crimson defensive zone to teammate Alberto Ruocco, who gunned the sphere past Erulcar from the seven-yard mark.