Before Saturday afternoon's game, the Harvard women's soccer team huddled together and screamed in unison, "Blast B.U.!" And that's exactly what they did.
Led by the ferocious play of junior left wing Cat Ferrante, who tallied three goals and assisted on two others, the booters whitewashed a ragged Terrier team, 7-0, on the artifical turf of Nickerson field.
The game, never in doubt after the Crimson jumped out to a 3-0 lead only 20 minutes after the opening gun, was the third shutout in three games for a defense that hardly needs a goalie.
Freshman netminder Ann Diamond didn't even touch the ball in the first half, and junior Dana Warren, in her first varsity appearance, handled five chances easily in the second 45 minutes of play.
But this game showcased the extremely potent run-and-gun Crimson offense, virtually silent in two previous contests. And Ferrante made most of the noise.
The hat trick was her second at Harvard, and the five points the most she's ever scored in a Crimson uniform. After her somewhat lackluster performance against Tufts last week, the Cat is back.
"I guess I've broken out of my slump," she said yesterday. "Against Tufts I was really played right out of the game, but (coach) Bob (Scalise) moved me over to the left wing and the play against B.U. was a lot more even."
Two of her scores were, in her words, "garbage goals," but Ferrante's crosses over the middle, resulting in goals for Sue St. Louis and Laurie Gregg, and her second score, a sharp drive from just outside the goal area, recalled the Ferrante of last year.
"Today was Cat's day," Scalise said after the game. "But it was also a good team win. The defense was solid and the offense was more like a team, without forfeiting any of the agressiveness we showed in earlier games."
Harvard's first goal came at 6:30, when halfback and co-captain Gia Johnson corralled a loose ball out in front, and sent it into a pack around McClure. Ferrante got to the ball first and flicked it off the left post and into the net.
St. Louis knocked in goal number two and goal number 56 of her career off a crossing pass from Ferrante at 15:06.
Then at 19:30, center fullback Jeannie Piersiak, best noted for her top-notch defensive skills, got into the scoring column after an excellent corner kick by sophomore winger Kelly Gately and a scramble in front of the goal.
With a quick 3-0 lead, Scalise emptied his bench at 27:00 and the six subs held B.U. scoreless until time expired.
To start the second half, the Crimson's first team returned to action and at 14:30, Gregg took a crossing pass from Ferrante and booted the ball over the goal line.
Nine minutes later, St. Louis crossed a ball in front of the net from the right to Gregg, who could only deflect it off to the side. But Ferrante was there to knock it in, putting the Crimson up, 5-0.
With 20 minutes to go in the game, the six Crimson subs dropped their sweats once more. Freshman Janet Judge took quick advantage of the playing time, left-footing a long shot that twisted up and over McClure's head and into the net at 31:53.
At this point the scoreboard clock at Nickerson field went blank but that couldn't stop Ferrante from getting her hat trick, at 43:05 of the second half, on a cross pass from center Cecile Scoon.
THE NOTEBOOK: Ferrante's sister Virginia, a freshman winger at B.U., saw limited action for the Terrier's, but witnessed quite a show from her big sister...The Crimson outshot the Terriers 28-5.