It had all the makings of a perfect upset. The Harvard women's soccer team had been slumping losing to Dartmouth 2-1 and UConn 4-0 while Princeton was off to its best start ever. If the Tigers were going to beat the Crimson Saturday seemed as good a time as any.
But unfortunately for the Tigers the booters had had enough of losing and finally played the kind of team soccer they're capable of And so Harvard finally earned its sixth win of thew season its first victory in four games with a 4-2 defeat of Princeton in New Jersey. The win ups the Crimson's season record to 6-3-2,3-1 in the lives.
Harvard beat Princeton with the crisp passing and ball control that had been noticeably absent from the squad's two prior games "We simply decided that this was going to be it. Princeton wasn't going to win." said Alicia Carillo, who notched two of Harvard's tallies. "We played much more like a unit and we gave each other a lot more support."
From the outset Harvard dominated the game and with less than ten minutes ticked away on the clock, the Crimson got on the scoreboard.
Carillo dripped the ball in Front of the goal and just as she reached the right hand corner. Tiger goalie Kelly O'Dell made a move for the ball and Carillo pushed the ball past her to give the booters a 1-0 lend.
Harvard's advantage did not last long however as Princeton came back with a tally of its own 10 minutes later. Forward Diane Shaw sprinted down the field and just before she entered the penalty box around the net. She passed the ball to teammate Iynn Prescott Present booted the ball just out of the reach of Harvard netminder Janet Judge, who was making her first appearance since she was injured in the BC game.
Then with 34:04 gone in the first stanza. Carillo put the Crimson up for good, converting on a pass teammate Kelly Landry. "Kelly was dripping at the trip of the box when she drew my defender. I ran a loop around Kelly and she sent the ball to her right and I put it in," Carillo said.
When the halftime horn blew, Harvard held a 2-1 lead and, more importantly, had dominated almost all aspects of play, Princeton look only 10 shots on the Crimson net the entire contest as compared to 24 for Harvard. Judge also made a very successful return to the net turning away eight of the Tiger shots.
There were moments in the second half when Harvard looked a bit tentative, but with 35 minutes gone in the period In-Captain Laura Mayer made a perfect pass to midfielder Anu Buker who was in front of the goal and Harvard had an insurance tally.
Less than five minutes later Mayer put in one of her own. She dripped the ball across the goal taken to her right and sent the ball flying into the upper left hand corner of the twines.
Princeton did not go out without one last run at the Crimson net. The Tigers had been awarded an indirect penalty kick and Shaw took the pass from striker Ann Debor and beat Judge to make the final score 4-2.
Harvard's next two opponents are UMass on Tuesday and Brown on Saturday.