When you play a low-scoring game, any goal you get is a prize, no matter how unspectacular it looks.
Just ask freshman Robin Johnston of the Harvard women's soccer team.
Johnston netted her first collegiate goal yesterday at Glay Field in Providence, R.I., to give the Crimson a 1-0 victory over Providence College.
The goal, which came at 22:49 of the first half, followed a crossing shot by Captain Amy Winston from the right side. Winston's shot beat Lady Friar netminder Shannon Sweezey but stayed right on the goal line until Johnston knocked it in the net.
"I just came running in," Johnston said. "The ball was there and I just kicked it. It wasn't a spectacular goal, but it won the game."
That unspectacular goal gave the Crimson (3-1 overall, 1-0 Ivy League) a victory in one of its most consistent efforts of the season.
"We fought hard for the ball the whole game," said Winston, who was credited with the assist on the goal. "It was really a 90-minute effort."
"I think it matters more the way we won than the fact that we won," Harvard Coach Tim Wheaton said. "We worked hard the whole game, won loose balls. I think we learned the lesson of the Holy Cross game that we have to come out and play strong right from the start."
The Lady Friars (now 1-6-1) could not break through a solid Harvard defense to test senior netminder Liz Wald, who posted her second shutout of the season.
"Liz didn't really have to do too much," Winston said. "We like it that way."
Led by junior sweeper Andie Montalbano, sophomore stopper Tara Weinstock and center midfielder Tracy Hackeling, Harvard dominated the middle of the field--shutting down the Providence attack and counterattacking well.
"Anytime you get a shutout you have to be pleased with the defensive effort," Wheaton said. "Liz wasn't really tested. Right up the middle--with Andie, Tara and Tracy--we were very solid."
The Crimson played more aggressively than Providence up and down the field but was unable to convert its play into more goals.
"The score didn't reflect how well we played," Winston said. "We outplayed them. They like to play long-ball and we consistenly beat them to the ball. Our midfielders controlled the ball."
The offensive success that Harvard has been enjoying this season has been spread around the team. Johnston is the latest Crimson player to hop on the scoring bandwagon.
"Almost our entire team has scored," Johnston said. "We're getting production from all the positions. We're all helping each other out, and we're getting used to the system."
"We're hoping we can ride this win and keep our momentum going right into the Ivy season," Winston said.
THE NOTEBOOK: Harvard outshot the Lady Friars, 14-8...Sweezey made eight saves in the contest, while Wald had to make only four...Harvard had three corner kicks to Providence's two...Winston's assist was her fifth of the season, giving her first-place on the scoring list with seven points in four games...The Crimson will next host a strong Vermont squad on Saturday at 11 a.m. at Ohiri Field.