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HANOVER, N.H.--Inconsistency. Missed opportunities. Incohesiveness.
The theme of miscues and botched chances haunted the Harvard men's soccer team like a hellish takeoff of This Is Your Season during the Crimson's 3-2 seesaw defeat to 10th-ranked Dartmouth here on Chase Field last Saturday.
In the process, the second-place Big Green snared their 10th consecutive win, while Harvard sunk to a lowly sixth place in the Ivies with just one league game to play.
And in the end of yet another run-and-gun battle, the Crimson's opponents were the ones to seize the initiative and finish off their chances.
This time it was the Big Green's Justin Head, serving poetic justice by getting his noggin on a rebound of a John Milne header off the Crimson crossbar and redirecting it into the net. Head's header shattered the 2-2 deadlock and surged Dartmouth ahead with less than 20 minutes to play, merely two minutes after Harvard's Joe Bradley notched an unassisted tally to draw the Crimson even.
"The goal was more of a response goal," Head said. "John got the flick off the crossbar, and I knocked it home."
With time running out, the Crimson had to rely on a kick-and-run game to mount an offensive against The Green.
With less than five minutes to play, Crimson sophomore midfielder Jason Luzak raceddown the left flank and threaded a pass betweentwo dazed Dartmouth defenders to Juan Betancourtat the left fringe of the penalty box. Facing onlynetminder Gregg Lemkau, Betancourt dribbled to thebox and passed right to a charging Alex Estevez.But the ball just outdistanced Estevez, carryingout of bounds. The Big Green held on to preserveits hard-earned victory.
"We both had a lot of chances," Luzak said."Theirs worked well, and we just couldn't finishours in the end. We haven't had a lot ofconsistency. There's been a lot of switchingplayers and just an overall lack of consistency.One game it'll gel for us, the next game itwon't."
For most of the game, the Crimson looked solid.Two minutes after intermission, Harvard's BrianEnge equalized the Green's 1-0 halftime lead,rifling a blast over three Green defenders, pastLemkau's outstretched arms and into the rightcorner of the net.
Sometimes, you can play out of your mind andstill get one-upped. Like the Crimson did.
Just four minutes after Enge's tally, the Greenpunctured Harvard's soft defense again. Aftercapturing the ball in Crimson territory, Greenforward Dan Sankar slipped a cross from the rightcorner through an empty crease. Head drilled theball past Harvard keeper Jamie Reilly to give thegreedy Green another lead, setting the stage forBradley to retie the match before Head untied itfor good.
"We did well because we were getting up anddown the flanks and used wings as best we could,"Head said. "We jumped on them when they hadpossession, and it really paid off."
Big Green, 3-2 in Hanover, N.H.
HARVARD 0-2--2Dartmouth 1-2--3
Goals: D, Geoff Wheeler (Justin Head)7:18; H, Brian Enge (unassisted) 47:00; D, Head(Dan Sankar) 51:00; H, Joe Bradley (unassisted)70:00; D, Head (Sankar, John Milne) 72:00.
Saves: H, Jamie Reilly 7; D, GreggLemkau 5.
Corner Kicks: Dartmouth 7; Harvard 5
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