The women booters' string of games against nationally ranked opponents continues today with a shootout on the UMass green. The game against the Minutemen--ranked sixth in the country--comes on the heels of contests against number three UConn and number four Princeton for the Crimson, which holds down the number ten spot in the most recent coaches' poll.
With two of the heavies down, and one to go, Coach Bob Scalise's freshman-laden team has played well so far in this, the heart of its season. Outplayed, but not dominated by the Huskies, 4-2 a week ago, the squad bounced back to trounce the highly regarded Tigers in what both Scalise and assistant coach Susanna Kaplan called "the team's best game of the season."
Whether or not the squad can pick up where it left off Saturday depends largely on the four starting freshmen and their ability to raise the team above its bedeviling history against the Minutemen.
UMass has always been thorn in the Crimson's side. In 1978, Harvard, riding the crest of a two-season, fifteen game winning streak--still the longest in the team's history--lost to the Minutemen in a 2-1 heartstopper.
In 1979, the Crimson enjoyed a phenomenally successful season, capturing the Ivy League regular season title, winning the Ivy post-season tournament, and playing to a tie with Cortland State for the EAIAW title. UMass provided the Crimson with its only blemish and defeat.
More of the Same
Last season the trend continued when the Minutemen handed Harvard not one, but two losses--the second in the EAIAW tournament--as the team managed an uncustomary 14-7 mark.
Fortunately for the Crimson, leading scorers Kelly Landry and Alicia Carrillo, both freshmen, are not part of that history, nor is starting mid-fielder Jenny Greeley or defensive stalwart Debbie Field, also freshmen. "We're going to have to overcome that UMass kind of fear," said Kaplan yesterday, "and our number of first year players should help us do it."
Besides the intangibles, Harvard will have to contend with a well-oiled UMass attack which, as in previous seasons, makes use of a short-passing, ball-control attack. Scalise points to mid-fielder Madeline Mangini--the Minutemen's "best all-around player"--as the focal point of that attack; Mangini was instrumental in both of the Harvard defeats last year.
UMass is further bolstered by a great deal of experience. Only one player--goalie Kelly Tuller--graduated from last year's squad, and the Minutemen have parlayed that experience into a 9-2-2 record, boasting wins over both Cortland State and mid-Atlantic power Penn State.
Although the Crimson brings a 9-1 record into the game, whether Harvard can keep up with UMass remains to be seen. "They're rolling," Kaplan said. "They've got a fluid attack and we're going to have to mark their forwards closely and look for ball control at midfield."
Minuteman coach Ken Banda agrees. "The game will be decided at midfield. We have a good defense and so do they. Last year we had the better team, but this year I think it's pretty even."
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