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It wasn't pretty, but it was a win.
The Harvard men's soccer team outlasted the cold, the artificial turf and Cornell to notch its second Ivy win of the season, defeating the Big Red, 1-0, Saturday night at Schoellkopf Field in Ithaca, N.Y.
By topping Cornell (2-6-1, 1-2-1 Ivy), the Crimson (6-5-1, 2-2 Ivy) won its thrid straight game and pushed the team's record over the .500 mark for the first time this year.
But don't look for the contest to be on any Ivy highlight films.
"The bottom line is, we dominated a very sloppy game," said Jason Luzak, who scored the lone goal of the game. "We didn't give our best performance of the season."
In addition to coping with the chilly night air, Harvard found itself on artificial turf for the first time this season.
"With the cold and the turf, both teams were all over the place," senior Lenny Ilkhanoff said.
"We are a much more skilled team than they are, but the turf sort of evened things out," Luzak said.
The game's only tally came midway through the second half. Captain Brian Enge played the ball up in the air to senior Don Daigle. Daigle then headed the ball to Luzak coming down the right side of the field.
Luzak trapped the ball 35 yards out and surged to within 15 yards to drill a shot into the left corner for the game-winner.
"I just happened to beat my defender," Luzak said.
Judging by the first half action, a Crimson victory was anything but assured. Cornell controlled the ball throughout the half, with Harvard only managing one shot on goal.
The Crimson stayed in the game thanks partly to goalie Jamie Reilly, who came through with several big saves to keep Cornell off the scoreboard.
The second half, however, belonged to Harvard.
In addition to Luzak's goal, the team exhibited more offense in the last 45 minutes, while holding Cornell to only one shot on goal.
"We basically dominated the entire second half," Ilkhanoff said. "We were looking to shoot more and we did. We were able to open the game up. It was just a matter of time."
The Crimson, which has won four straight, will return to action this Saturday against Princeton at Ohiri Field.
"We're just taking it one game at a time," Ilkhanoff said. "At midseason, we sort of erased our record and started again at 0-0. Now we're 4-0 and we aren't looking back."
'At mid-season, we sort of erased our record and started again at 0-0. Now we're 4-0 and we aren't looking back.' --Senior Lenny Iikhanoff
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