The Harvard men's soccer team faced a few adverse conditions in last night's Ivy League match-up at Penn's Franklin Field in Philadelphia. Bright Lights, Big City, Tough Turf.
But the Crimson turned its reputation as a not-so-great turf team into a 2-0 revenge over the Quakers after 20 minutes of overtime action.
Turf and lights have not been Harvard's friends in the past--its only other game under those conditions this season ended in a 0-0 overtime tie at Boston University in mid-October.
And when Harvard (7-3-3 overall, 4-1-1 Ivy League) last traveled to Philadelphia--in November 1986--the top-of-the-Ivy Crimson was shocked 3-0 by a Quaker team that had not won a league contest all season. The loss ended Harvard's bid for an Ancient Eight title, handing the crown to Yale.
This time, Harvard didn't waste time adjusting to the unfamiliar conditions.
"We went out and we played soccer and we didn't worry about the field," Harvard Coach Mike Getman said. "We said we weren't going to let the turf bother us."
It took a little longer to get revenge against the Quakers (5-7-3).
"In the first half we had more opportunities, they didn't have many chances," Getman said. "Then, for 40 minutes [in the second half] they really took it to us. We just couldn't sort it out. They were winning every loose ball."
After battling to a 0-0 tie in regulation, Harvard got on the scoreboard early in the first 10-minute overtime. Junior midfielder Paul Baverstock capitalized on a Crimson penalty kick to give Harvard a 1-0 lead at 91:02. Baverstock passed a free kick to senior Ramy Rajballie on the side of the Quaker defending wall, and a Penn defender dove on the ball before Rajballie could take the shot. Harvard was awarded the penalty kick on the foul.
Freshman midfielder Jeremy Amen netted the insurance goal at 104:32, tackling a Penn player to gain control and fire a shot past Quaker keeper Mark Tepper.
"We completely took them apart in overtime," Getman said. "It was basically one-way traffic."
Harvard may be a veteran when it comes to overtime--it has played four overtime games this season--but, until last night, all its OT practice hadn't turned it into a pro. The Crimson's three previous overtime contests (against Hartford, Boston University and Brown) ended in ties.