As briskly as the Cambridge winds blew the Tigers onto Ohiri Field Saturday morning, the Harvard men's soccer team blew them right back off.
Ramy Rajballie and Nikhil Singh combined for five goals and Matt Ginsburg registered his third shutout of the season as the Crimson coasted to a 5-0 triumph.
While avenging last year's 1-0 upset loss to the Tigers, the booters improved their season record to 3-5-1 (2-2 Ivy) and kept their slim hopes of earning an NCAA postseason bid alive.
The five-goal output was by far Harvard's most productive offensive performance of the year. In eight previous games this season, the Crimson had managed a total of only seven goals.
Furthermore, the win enabled Coach Jape Shattuck's squad to string together consecutive victories for the first time this year--both of them shutouts.
The Crimson saved all its scoring for the second half, when it outshot Princeton, 13-4. Singh notched the first tally just 52 seconds after the intermission, converting a short pass from Captain Lane Kenworthy into a goal from 12 yards out.
"We played well in the first half, too," Singh said. "We just didn't play fast enough. In the second half, we took the game to them and really showed this team's potential for scoring goals."
Following a 12-minute dry spell, Rajballie, took a pass from Paul Nicholas and drilled a 20-yard shot to the right of diving Tiger goalkeeper Dan Pettigrew for the first of his three goals.
Rajballie collected his second goal less than three minutes later when, at the 60:41 mark, he knocked in a Nick Hotchkin pass from about 15 yards out.
But Singh was not through either. With 24 minutes left in the contest, he blasted a 25-yard driver past Pettigrew into the upper left corner of the Princeton net.
The Tigers repeatedly tried to scratch and claw their way back into the contest but were victimized by both their own miscues and a swarming Crimson defense. Within one two-minute span, the Princeton offense pulled offsides in three consecutive potential scoring situations.
And with less than two minutes remaining, Rajballie greeted the Tigers' late-game replacement goalie with his third tally of the day--off Nicholas' second assist of the game. The freshman from Toronto, Ontario now has four goals on the year.
The Crimson defense, led by back Ian Hardington--whose overtime goal knocked off Dartmouth a week ago--was strong all afternoon, while Ginsburg looked sharp in net on the few occasions he was tested.
THE NOTEBOOK: Of Harvard's 19 total shots on goal, Singh contributed seven and Rajballie six...Princeton had nine corner kicks and Harvard only two...The Crimson travels to Rhode Island Wednesday for its first away contest in nearly three weeks...Harvard's one remaining regular-season home game is on Saturday, November 9 against Penn. Scoring: H, Nikhil Singh (Lane Kenworthy) 45:52; H, Ramy Rajballie (Paul Nicholas) 57:56; H, Rajballie (Nick Hotchkin) 60:41; H, Singh (unassisted) 66:15; H, Rajballie (Nicholas)88:40 Saves: P, Dan Pettigrew, 8; P. Jack Hergenrother, 1; H, Matt Ginsburg, 5
Scoring: H, Nikhil Singh (Lane Kenworthy) 45:52; H, Ramy Rajballie (Paul Nicholas) 57:56; H, Rajballie (Nick Hotchkin) 60:41; H, Singh (unassisted) 66:15; H, Rajballie (Nicholas)88:40
Saves: P, Dan Pettigrew, 8; P. Jack Hergenrother, 1; H, Matt Ginsburg, 5