Utilizing solid team defense and crisp control passes up the wings, the Harvard women's soccer team shut out Tufts, 2-0, for its third consecutive victory of the young season amid gusting winds yesterday afternoon at the Business School field.
Although the Jumbos often double-teamed both Crimson strikers and at times clogged the penalty area with as many as eight defenders, Harvard adjusted accordingly early in the first half and dominated most of the game.
"Tufts bottled up the middle by marking (frosh forwards) Alicia (Carrillo) and Kelly (Landry)," coach Bob Scalise said after the game, adding, "But that just opened up the outside."
Crimson wing halfback Laura Mayer, who dazzled her Tufts counterpart with her fancy footwork along the right sideline and catalyzed the Crimson offensive effort with a goal and an assist, took advantage of the Jumbo's strategy.
With 10:30 left in the still-scoreless first half, Mayer eluded the Tufts midfielder, broke downfield to the right of the penalty area, and hit the cutting Kelly Landry with a picture perfect crossing pass. Landry wasted no time in blasting her fifth goal of the season past the mispositioned Jumbo netminder, Janet Raiche.
Only moments before, Mayer, who had been hampered by a sore foot until Monday's practice, almost notched her first goal (and the first by any upperclassmen) this season. After taking a feed from Carrillo, the second team All-Ivy junior used a stutter-step move to evade two Tufts fullbacks and unleashed a hard drive that rocketed just over the crossbar.
With 7:05 remaining in the game, Mayer adjusted her aim and tallied a goal of her own. Controlling an Ellen Jakovic throw-in, the halfback faked to the outside, streaked on net and rifled a bullet which bounded high off the hands of the Jumbos' goalie and into the twines.
On the other side of the field, Crimson wing half Cat Ferrante executed her share of pretty combinations with Jenny Greeley and Kelly Gately, but without the same game-stopping results.
Twenty minutes into the game, the senior co-captain raced down the sideline, eluded two Tufts backliners with a stop-and-go deke, and popped a crossing pass into the crease. In the ensuing scramble in front of the goal, the other Harvard attackers failed to make solid contact with the ball.
Crimson netminder Janet Judge and the Crimson defense turned in a strong effort producing their first shut-out of the season. While Judge handled only four shots, she made her presence felt by directing traffic in the Harvard zone, distributing the ball to the open back, and punching one of the two Tufts corners out of the crease.
"The defense did a good job of covering on switches," said Judge, who has the best perspective of the backs in action. "I played field last year, so I have a better idea of what balls the backs can handle and I'm not as hesitant to communicate with them and call for the ball."
Besides working the fullbacks on defensive coverage at Monday's practice, Scalise warned the back row about Jumbo winger Lisa Raffin. Using strategy developed during the Springfield College game. Scalise moved junior Gately to the right side to shadow Raffin, the Jumbos' main scoring threat.
Gately, an Honorable Mention All-American, silenced Raffin so effectively during the first half that Tufts coach Bill Gehling moved his leading offensive weapon to center forward.
THE NOTEBOOK: Junior Jeanne Piersiak, seen limping after the game, aggravated her sore foot courtesy of hard stepping Tufts forward Ellie Roane, but said that it wouldn't slow her down.
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