The Harvard men's soccer team yesterday demonstrated exactly what a tie should be, gaining a hard-fought, 0-0 draw, after two overtimes, with nationally-ranked Hartwick College.
Playing on a Business School field dampened by pre-game rains, the two squads traded sliding tackles and near misses for 110 minutes in a game characterized by solid end-to-end action.
"It's a great result," coach George Ford said yesterday. "We simply weren't intimidated by them."
Offensively, the booters concentrated on making longpasses from the back aimed at All-Ivy forward Mauro Keller-Sarmiento and fellow frontrunner Lance Ayrault, producing a few good chances--but not creating much consistent goalmouth pressure.
"Playing a talented team that knocks the ball around a lot, the last thing we want to do is try to match them with precise passing," Ford said, adding that "the optimum situation for us is a one-on-one with Lance or Mauro as our target man."
Stopper John Duggan stopped just about everything Hartwick had on offense with his sliding takedowns, and senior Peter Sergienko at sweeper controlled whatever else got by, making it an enjoyable outing for goalie Peter Walsh--who posted his first shutout this season.
"We were too aggressive for them--they lost composure," Duggan said, adding that "a win would've been nice, but a tie against them (9th-ranked Hartwick) ain't bad."
Hartwick was visibly upset by the Crimson's style of play, receiving three yellow card cautions--including one to their coach.
The 0-0 scoreline is extremely misleading--both teams had their chances. Hartwick nearly struck first at 10:00 when a free kick from 20 yards found sweeper David Long open enough to glance a header past the post.
Crimson forward Lance Ayrault intercepted an errant distribution by the Hartwick goalkeeper four minutes later, but midfielder John Lyons' shot went wide left.
Later, winger Alberto Villar found Ayrault alone in the Hartwick penalty box before two defenders converged on the junior striker to muffle his 12-yard attempt.
After an 80-minute physical battle in which pressure from both sides prevented either team from stringing together more than a handful of passes, the game's final ten minutes were very, very tense.
Hartwick chipped a 22-yard free kick over the Crimson wall and goalie Peter Walsh was forced to take the ball off the foot of a hard-charging 'Wick forward.
Mauro Keller-Sarmiento had the best chance at clinching the match for the booters with three minutes left when he ran on to a pass from Ayrault on the left side of the Hartwick's box, but blasted a 10-yard left footer straight at 'keeper Nat Bougton.
Two minutes later, left fullback Andreas Keller-Sarmiento threw the game into overtime when he saved a header that sailed over Walsh, volleying the ball off the goal line with less than a minute left in regulation play.
The two ten-minute overtimes were sloppily played, with both sides concentrating on not losing rather than winning, and the match ended deadlocked.
The draw with the defending Eastern Regional champions leaves the booters at 2-1-1, with their next match an Ivy League contest at Cornell on Friday.
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