Beware the wrath of Ian Hardington.
Hardington, the stopper for the Harvard men's soccer team, had a bone to pick with Penn's playing tactics Saturday at Ohiri Field. With his team down 1-0 in the second half, the senior booter scored the tying goal moments after complaining about the Quakers' dirty play.
Teammate Nikhil Singh added two goals in overtime to lift the Crimson to a thrilling 3-1 victory.
The win, Harvard's fourth in five games, evens the squad's overall record at 6-6-1 (4-2 Ivy). Penn, meanwhile, falls to 4-6-1 overall and 1-4-2 in league play.
"That's three bloody times!" Hardington vehemently yelled to the officals, referring to the frequency with which a couple of Quaker defenders were pushing and shoving him around. "They're a bunch of animals," the native of Melton Mowbray, England said after the game.
He expressed his frustration by tying the score with 13 minutes left in regulation--only seconds after his complaint.
Hardington took a pass from midfielder Paul Nicholas on the left side and kicked it over onrushing goalic Dan Williams for his third goal of the season. "Nicholas crossed it to the far post, and I chipped it over the goalic when he came out," the senior explained.
Hardington's goal was long overdue, since Harvard had gone scoreless throughout the first half and much of the second half despite controlling the ball most of the time. The Crimson attempted 13 shots in the first half (and finished with 29 overall, compared to 16 for Penn), but most barely missed wide or were stopped by Williams.
But Penn didn't score in the first half, either.
A strong Harvard defense limited the Quakers to just six first-stanza shots, although two by forward John Fletcher nearly went in: a 30-yard shot rebounded off the left goal post, and a later shot of his hit the crossbar.
Penn tallied its lone goal just 42 seconds into the second half when Paul Rubincam received a pass from Steve Saunders and drove toward the Harvard goal uncovered.
"We were aggressive in the second half, except for the goal by 20 [Rubincam]," Hardington said. "We just stood and watched while he scored."
The Crimson applied pressure on Penn several times before the Hardington goal. Harvard battered Williams to no avail, while the brilliant slide tackling of Hardington and Mark Pepper stymied the opposition's offense.
After Hardington's goal, however, neither squad was able to score--sending the match into overtime.
Singh, now the club's leading Ivy scorer with five league goals, broke the deadlock to put Harvard on top with 2:55 left in the first overtime half.
The assist belonged to freshman wonder Ramy Rajballie, who dribbled past several Penn defenders along the right sideline.
"Ramy crossed the ball, and it went past the goalkeeper," Singh said. "Then I slid it into the empty net inside the post."
Singh's second goal of the day, occurring at the 101:58 mark, dealt the finishing blow to Penn. He correctly read a fullback-to-goalie pass, intercepted it, and drilled the ball into the net for a 3-1 advantage over the Quakers.
And before the final whistle blew, Hardington once again made his presence felt, effectively lobbying for the ejection of a Penn player.
The referees presented Penn booter Steve Saunders--the man covering Hardington throughout the game--with a red card for repeatedly harrassing the British Cantab.