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M. Soccer Ends Season With Loss to Hartwick

* McLaughlin breaks career assist mark with 24

By Rebecca A. Blaeser, CRIMSON STAFF WRITER

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.

"I didn't know what to expect and I had a free kick and Juan Carlos was right there and tucked it into the goal," McLaughlin said. "It didn't dawn on me until he said something and I said 'Juan, you are the man."

McLaughlin added another assist in the 51st minute off a breakaway goal by Chijioke.

With those two assists, McLaughlin finished off his senior campaign with 12 goals and seven assists--good enough to lead the Ivy League.

Between those two Crimson tallies, however, Hartwick's Liam Hefferman found daylight for what would prove to be the game winner in the eventual 3-2 loss.

"We wanted to end the season above .500," Chijioke said. "But I think we can take a lot of positives out of this season and if we can get ourselves ready for next year, then that will be a very positive for the future of the team."

The Crimson will lose only three seniors in McLaughlin, Ricky Le and goalkeeper Ben Weeden, who had five saves against Hartwick.

"I think that we had a good year it was a lot of fun," McLaughlin said. "It would have been a lot different had we won the first few games. I think our season could have taken a different route."

With this season over, the youngsters will look to follow in the senior's footsteps and lift Harvard back into the top spot in the Ivy League--a spot which it held just one year ago. HARTWICK, 3-2 at Oneonta, NY Harvard  1  1  --  2 Hartwick  2  1  --  3

Scoring

Hart--Grechka (Heffeman) 1:00.

Hart--Deming (Grechka) 10:17.

Harv--Montoy (McLaughlin) 11:15.

Hart--Heffernman 47:26.

Harv--Chijioke (McLaughlin) 50:14.

Saves: Harv--Weeden 5; Hart--Doneit 4. HARVARD  2 HARTWICK  3

Scoring

Hart--Grechka (Heffeman) 1:00.

Hart--Deming (Grechka) 10:17.

Harv--Montoy (McLaughlin) 11:15.

Hart--Heffernman 47:26.

Harv--Chijioke (McLaughlin) 50:14.

Saves: Harv--Weeden 5; Hart--Doneit 4. HARVARD  2 HARTWICK  3

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