Youth and luck were the keys to the Harvard men's soccer team's 2-1 come-from-behind victory over Boston University yesterday at Ohiri Field.
Freshmen fullback Lee Williams and forward Zach Viders, last week's Ivy League Rookie of the Week, teamed to score the game-winner with only 120 ticks remaining on the clock.
Williams headed the ball off a Harvard corner kick from the right side, and B.U. goalie Bryan Murphy's attempt to redirect the shot over the net failed. Instead, the ball bounced off the crossbar and fell in front of the net waiting for a Harvard player to knock it in. Viders did the job.
"It was all Lee," Viders said. "He came in at the end of the game. He used his size on the header. I was just sitting there waiting for something to happen and I was quicker than their backs."
Ironically, Williams came off the bench only moments before the goal, replacing freshman midfielder Armando Petruccelli, who was suffering from leg cramps.
"I was afraid I was going to hurt the team [if I kept playing injured]," Petruccelli said. "The guy that came in the game for me won the game. It was fate."
The Terriers made their attack 11 minutes into the second half when forward Nick Bone quietly dribbled down the left side and fired a shot past the outstretched arms of junior Crimson goalie Peter Albers.
But the Crimson was definitely not down for the count, responding to the challenge 12 minutes later with a goal of its own. Sophomore forward Toure McCluskey took junior forward Will Kohler's pass and booted a cross-over shot into the net to tie the game at one.
"We needed to be more aggressive in the first half," Locker said. "We needed to push our defense forward a bit and play our style of soccer, which we didn't do. We didn't have fluidity."
The Crimson played just well enough to win after a sloppy first half full of missed scoring opportunities.
"We were sort of struggling in the first half," Viders said. "All the credit goes to our defense. They held them to one goal."
Harvard lacked intensity in the first half, and the Terriers dominated in the first 15 minutes of the game. Albers saved the Crimson several times with phenomenal stops.
The game then evened out for the next 30 minutes, with neither team gaining an advantage, although Harvard had several good scoring opportunities. Will Kohler sent one off the post and one just above the crossbar. Kohler also had a goal called back when the referees made a very late offsides call.
The teams entered halftime scoreless.
Harvard coach Stephen Locker was encouraged by the victory in spite of the team's lackluster performance.