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Words cannot do justice to the November 5, 1994 scene at Harvard's Ohiri Field. But here's a try.
The Harvard and Brown men's soccer teams were playing for the Ivy League title and automatic NCAA Tournament berth (Columbia lost the next day to eliminate itself), and the contest was scoreless heading into overtime. A tie would give the Bears first place and make for a long offseason for the Crimson, which had struggled to a 4-8-2 overall record going into the game--though 4-1-1 in Ivy games.
Fate would have it differently, however. Late in the first extra period, freshman Toure McCluskey sent sophomore Kevin Silva on a breakaway towards the Brown goal.
Pandemonium broke out.
But as is the case in soccer, the teams play the full 30 minutes of overtime, so the Bears still had a chance to tie or win.
Sophomore T.J. Carella ended that notion seconds into the second overtime half. Carella found the back of the Brown net with a perfect strike on a direct kick, and the result was sealed.
The overflow crowd of over 2,000 fans, drunk with joy and beer, poured onto the field to celebrate Harvard's dramatic overtime win and carried Carella, among others, off the field and into the happy mob.
It was a moment that players dream about, let alone their fans.
It had to be a dream--a team that had failed to win one single non-conference game winning the Ivy League title?
No, it was reality. Harvard had won when it counted.
After falling at Columbia, 4-2, Harvard went 4-0-1 over its last five Ivy League games, including a 4-1 thrashings or arch-rivals Yale and Princeton.
On the other hand, the Crimson had a tough season outside the Ancient Eight. While a winless record in itself is tough to swallow, the way in which Harvard lost made it even more painful.
The Crimson dropped four one-goal games and a two-goal game that ended in overtime. In a few of those games, the Crimson had the lead and lost the contest in the final minutes. So, Harvard's winning the Ivy title wasn't that surprising.
Advancing in the NCAA tournament would have been a shocker, however, because 16th-seed Harvard was pitted against Boston University--the top-ranked team in the nation.
The Terriers jumped out to a quick 1-0 lead after a Crimson turnover just two minutes into the contest. Harvard had its chances to tie, but it couldn't convert, and B.U. scored early in the second half and won, 2-0.
Regardless of the outcome, Harvard had made its first NCAA Tournament since 1987.
A trio of sophomores led the Crimson in scoring--Will Kohler (seven goals, two assists), Silva (six, one) and Carella (four three)--while sophomore Peter Albers (4-3-2, 1.5 goals against average) saw the majority of time in net.
Kohler and defensive standout and captain Pepper Brill garnered first-team All-Ivy honors, while Silva was a second-team selection.
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