The Harvard men's soccer team learned last night that it really does pour when it rains, melting under stormy skies to the University of Pennsylvania, 4-0, at historic Franklin Field in Philadelphia.
Two Penn penalty kicks in the second half crumbled the booters chances for a winning finish in the Ivy League this season: with only Yale left one lap a week from today, the team's record, lands at 5-9 overall, 2-4 in the Ivies. But Harvard never really had a chance at the match, failing to create any sustained pressure on the Quaker's goalmouth.
"They really outplayed us," said Coach Jape Shattuck adding, "I was surprised because I thought we'd be neck and neck with them."
Penn quickly demonstrated its intention to dominate the game in its home park--the nation's oldest stadium in continuous use. The speed of the Quakers play was visibly superior to the Crimson's with Penn's booters passing the ball with much more authority.
"It [quick play] requires good technique," explained Shattuck, adding that "all your passes have to be in a perfect."
The Quakers exploited the difference in skill early. At 13:37, Penn forward David Cardi found fellow frontrunner Jan Gram-merslorf from the left with a low cross through a goalmouth crowd. The Quaker striker settled the ball, then cracked a hard drive past Crimson goalkeeper Phil Coogan to the far post.
Harvard's fullbacks closed down in the Quakers for the rest of the half, but offensively the Crimson crumpled under heavy pressure from the Penn forwards who harassed the back liners each time they tried to advance the ball. The booters could master only two shots on Quaker goalkeeper Michael Moore in the opening 45 minutes.
Penn sealed the win less than two minutes into the second half, when fullback Kenny Blye took down Quaker halfback Mark Petrovich in the Harvard penalty area after the midfielder snuck past the rest of the Harvard back line. Bruce Becker converted the kick from the charity spot at 46:27.
Although the booters had more success bringing the ball into Penn's end in the final period, the Quakers almost reckless defending prevented any clear chances at net.
"They lunged at us a lot, made things happen a little too quickly for us," said Shattuck. "We really couldn't sustain any possession at that end."
The Quakers tallied twice late in the game with Damon Vigiano connecting on another penalty kick at 74.53 and substitute forward Chris Van Note twanging the twines with less than four minutes left in the match.