Very few teams, including the best, escape adversity in a season. Even the San Francisco 49ers lost to the winless Detroit Lions two nights ago.
A similar scenario has hit the Harvard women's soccer team (5-1-0, 1-0-0 Ivy League). The Crimson had smothered its first five opponents by a 23-1 score until it hit a brick wall in a 1-0 loss to Monmouth Sunday in the Harvard Invitational.
The Hawks, who were a prime cut above the inept first five opponents on Harvard's schedule, scored early and clogged the middle part of the field. Harvard, which had been used to beating defenders at will, could not break through Monmouth, as the players either took outsider shots or muffed the two or three solid scoring chances they managed to create.
Today, Harvard will have to solve Boston College (5-3-1), a squad that defeated Monmouth by a 3-2 count on Saturday. The Eagles--the winners of the Harvard Invitational--host the Crimson in a 3 p.m. match at Newton.
As was the case last year, several freshman have had an immediate impact on the Crimson.
Midfielder Naomi Miller currently leads Harvard with five goals, and her point total of 11 leaves her only two behind the leader, sophomore Emily Stauffer (4 goals, 5 assists). Stauffer and Miller are the top two scorers in the Ivy League as well.
Another midfielder, Devon Bingham, has also gotten into the scoring act. Bingham has two goals, including the game winner against Columbia.
Goaltender Jennifer Burney, a rookie as well, is the Ivy League's stingiest netminder, allowing only 0.38 goals against per contest. Burney is fifth nationally, Merideth Bagley, the team's other goalie, hasn't allowed a goal in her 72 minutes of action.
Freshman Jaime Chu was having a solid year at back until she injured her knee against Columbia in Friday's 4-1 win over the Lions. Chu, who suffered a bone bruise when she collided knee-on-knee with a Lion, is questionable for today's contest. She will be available for Saturday's contest at league-leading Cornell (3-2-1, 2-0-0). Freshman Ashley Marynick is taking her place in the meantime.
Brown, the preseason Ivy League co-favorite along with Harvard, lost its opening Ancient Eight contest, falling to Yale, 2-1.
The Bulldogs (3-3-0, 1-0-0) pulled off the upset behind Ivy League Rookie of the Week Annie Kwon's two goals.
Dartmouth's Jenna Karowski picked up Ivy League Player of the Week honors with three goals last week, including the game-winners in 2-1 defeats of Pennsylvania and New Hampshire.
In other league action this past weekend, Cornell blanked Princeton, 1-0.
Harvard had gone over 430 minutes without giving up a goal before Columbia scored on Friday. The last time the Crimson posted four straight shutouts was in 1987, when the team opened with seven consecutive blankings.... The Harvard record for goals in a season is 69, set in 1981. Less than a third into the season, the Crimson is on pace to break it.... Harvard might be seeing double today against B.C. Eagle co-captains Jessica and Allison David are identical twins.