The Harvard-Columbia men's soccer match is traditionally both the first and one of the most important Ivy contests of the season.
This season, Harvard and Columbia each already have three games under their belts. Nevertheless, today's 11:00 a.m. match at Ohiri Field, which marks the opening of Ivy League play, carries with it the same significance it always has.
The Crimson holds a 25-13-2 edge in series play, but the Lions are always tough.
"Obviously, we are very pleased to have a couple of games in," Coach Mike Getman said, "but it doesn't gives us any advantage because they had three games, as well. The quality of the game should be better for both teams."
Columbia (2-1) opened its 1991 campaing with a 1-0 loss to Davidson College but bounced back to shut out West Virginia University, 1-0, and C.W. Post, 3-0.
Up front, the Lions have been led thus far by senior Mike Connolly, who has tallied twice this season, and classmate Gary Hawes (1 goal, 1 assist, 3 points).
At the midfield position, Columbia will miss the play of Martin Munnelly '90, who led the Lions in scoring last season. But senior Peter DiMaggio has already filled in admirably, recording four assists this season.
Columbia suffered some key losses in the backfield as well, most notably Siggy Valtysson. But Co-Captain Oren Plitman returns to lead a veteran defensive corps that includes classmates Dennis Comstock and Nick Primavera.
Columbia's strongest position may be goalkeeper. After sitting out the 1989 season with a knee injury, 6'4" senior netminder Sal Rosamilia returned last season to garner All-Ivy, All-Region and All-America honors. This season, Rosamilia has yielded just one goal, to Davidson College, while recording 18 saves.
"They are a very similar team to ourselves," Getman said. "They're a good technical team, they're very quick and they work very hard. It will come down to who executes better,"
Last season, Harvard travelled to New York to face the Lions in the season opener and fell, 1-0. And this year's match promises to be a tight one as well.
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