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So much for surprises.
While the past week started with a disappointing surprise when the Harvard women's soccer team (14-2-1, 6-0-1 Ivy) didn't earn an NCAA Tournament berth, the week closed out as predicted.
Sophomore Emily Stauffer garnered Ivy League Player of the Year honors, while freshman Naomi Miller won the Ancient Eight's Rookie of the Year award. The two finished one-two in scoring among Ivy League athletes.
Also named First Team All-Ivy were co-captain Sara Noonan and freshman Jaime Chu, both backs. Sophomore forward Keren Gudeman and freshman goalie Jen Burney earned Second Team All-Ivy honors, while All-Ivy Honorable Mention citations went out to co-captain Susie DeLellis and juniors Meg Kassakian and Dana Tenser.
"Having nine of 11 starters recognized is just great," Harvard coach Tim Wheaton said. "[The voters] recognized that what we did was a team effort."
Team effort or not, Stauffer was huge this season. Coming off her 1994 campaign in which she led Harvard with 18 points (six goals, six assist) and racked up Ivy League Rookie of the Year hardware, Stauffer owned the Ancient Eight this year.
When Stauffer wasn't putting the ball in the net this year, she was the Crimson's premier time-killer because of her superior ball control. On numerous occasions over the season, Stauffer would bring the ball to the corner of the field and maintain possession for minutes at a time late in games.
Stauffer led both the league and the Crimson with 35 points (13 goals, nine assists). One game in particular stands out--the 7-0 shutout over Princeton on October 22. Stauffer scored three goals and assisted on two others in only about 50 minutes of playing time. Her eight points fell only one short of the Ivy League record for points in a game.
"There's not enough one can say about Emily," Wheaton said. "She's a great, great kid."
Miller provided the Crimson with plenty of offensive firepower as well. Her impact was evident from game one on, as she scored Harvard's first goal of the season against Fairfield.
Miller would score five game-winning tallies en route to a 26-point season (10 goals, six assists). But one of those stands out above all else. Harvard was tied with Colgate in overtime on October 8, and the Crimson earned a direct kick about 25 yards from the goal. Miller drilled it just under the crossbar and in for the tally. Miller made the same exact shot the following weekend at Yale in a 2-0 win.
"We knew coming in that she would be a great impact player," Wheaton said. "She created a lot of scoring chances throughout and scored key goals throughout."
Chu and Noonan epitomized Harvard's stingy defense, which posted nine shutouts on the season. In addition, they contributed two of the biggest scoring moments on the year. Chu's goal against Dartmouth proved to be the difference in a 3-2 win, while Noonan clinched the Ivy League title with her tally in a 1-0 victory over Brown in the season finale.
Burney, while not the busiest of goalies due to Harvard's top-notch defense, came up big throughout the campaign, leading all Ivy League goalies with a 0.72 goals against average. Gudeman--Harvard's second-leading scorer last year--was Harvard's and the Ivy League's third-leading point-woman with 25 (seven goals, 11 assists) in 1995.
Despite missing three games to injury, DeLellis racked up 11 points (three goals, five assist) in addition to providing leadership on a team that consisted of only six upperclassmen. Tenser (three goals, seven assists) continued her recovery from a knee injury she sustained in 1993, zooming to loose balls all over the field. And Kassakian--Harvard's last line of defense--was nearly impenetrable.
"What we did was more difficult than what people could imagine," Wheaton said. "I'm really, really proud of the team--they stayed focused on their goals."
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