It was definitely not the way it wanted to end its season, but then again nothing seemed to go exactly right throughout the 1997 campaign.
In a meaningless non-league contest, the Harvard men's soccer team (6-7-4, 2-2-3) lost its season finale to Hartwick 3-2 on Saturday.
Yet amidst the sadness and the disappointment of a season gone astray, the Crimson managed to keep things in perspective.
"The guys were looking to have fun," said junior Chinezi Chijioke. "When it was over it was sad and everyone congratulated the seniors. And now we try to move on and think towards next year."
"It was more of a game to show how much pride we had," said captain Tom McLaughlin.
Harvard entered the Hartwick game with nothing left to lose, for any hope of an NCAA berth had vanished long ago.
And for awhile it appeared that the Crimson would have to wait to finish its season for more than a foot of snow fell on the Oneonta, N.Y. area. Thanks to a field-size tarp and a handy snow plow, however, both teams were forced to brave the elements come game time.
The weather still wreaked havoc on the Crimson. The soft, wet ground coupled with the persistant snowfall pestered the Harvard players.
Throughout the entire contest Harvard was forced to abandon its passing game in favor of a much less predictable air attack.
"It was really sloppy at first," McLaughlin said. "We are more of a possession type team and we were forced to play the long ball."
Hartwick was quick to take advantage. It scored after only one minute of play when Orest Grechka collected a through ball and let loose a shot just inside the left goal post.
Following Grechka's lead, sophomore Mike Deming netted another Hartwick goal just nine minutes later.
But it was at the 11:15 mark, however, when Harvard finally found the back of the net for perhaps its most memorable goal of the year.
A McLaughlin free kick from just outside the 18-yard box stunned Hartwick goalkeeper Peter Doneit, who could not contain the shot. The slight bobble by Doneit allowed sophomore Juan Carlos Montoy to knock home Harvard's first goal of the game.
More importantly, that Montoy tally gave McLaughlin his seventh assist of the year and the 24th of his career--a new Harvard school record.