In many ways the Harvard women's soccer team's performance in the NCAA quarterfinals Saturday afternoon in St. Louis was typical of the way things have gone for the squad all season long.
The booters played as well, if not better than the second-seeded unbeaten Riverwomen from the University of Missouri-St-Louis but they still ended up on the short end of a 2-1 score, with a ticket back to Cambridge rather than to Orlando, Florida for the semi-finals and finals.
The smothering St. Louis defense has allowed only four goals all season long. But it was not the defense that hurt the Crimson as much as the scoring woes that have plagued the squad throughout the year. Harvard managed to get 13 shots off, two more than the Riverwomen, but the shots just were not quite on target.
We certainly played well enough to win, Harvard Assistant Coach Susanna Kaplan said after the game. We just didn't have that extra something We didn't get the breaks.
The break that gave the Riverwomen the victory was a charging call with about ten minutes left in the contest Joan Gettemeyer walloped the ensuing penalty shot past out of Harvard goalie Janet Judge's outstretched arms. The goal broke a 1-1 tie and put St. Louis ahead for good.
In many ways the Riverwomen were lucks to get the penalty since the Harvard defense kept up the strong play it has shown through out this tournament. Judge was a near wall in the net turning away 10 St. Louis blasts, despite a still should and overall soreness as a result of her superhuman effort against Brown last Friday Fullback Brigitte Duffs also contained forward Patty Kelly effectively in the Crimson freshman's second straight impressive game.
Harvard was the first team to get on the scoreboard With 36:51 ticked off on the clock in the first half. Sweeper Debbie field booted the ball over the Riverwomen back who had pulled up too far in an attempt to trap the ball. Tri-captain Laura Mayer was waiting downfield and when the ball landed on leaped on it.
"I took Debbie's clear and then it was one-on-one with the goalie." Mayer said it was just a soft low tap into the net.
Harvard held the lead until only 20 minutes remained in the game. Gettemeyer, who eventually scored the wining tally, brought the ball downfield and then passed across the goal to teammate kelly who was standing about 30 yards in front of the net. Kelly then sent a bullet into the right upper corner of the goal, and suddenly it was a tie game. Ten minutes later Gettemeyer scored on the fateful penalty shot and that was the game.
"Of course, I was disappointed," Mayer said after the conclusion of her last playoff game here at Harvard. "But, I think we played as well as we have all season.
THE NOTEBOOK: Harvard will makeup its postponed Yale game this Tuesday at 2.30 p.m. at the Business School to conclude its season. . . While the St. Louis game may not have been the highlight of the trip journey, staying at the plush Marriot, and treating themselves to a night of blues.