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By Keith S. Greenawalt

For a team's star to come through with two goals in an NCAA tournament game would be one of those epic big-game performances.

To do it as a freshman walk-on is unbelievable.

That is just what our Athlete of the Week, freshman center forward Erin Aeschliman did Sunday in Harvard's 2-0 defeat of UMass in the opening round of the NCAA Tournament.

Aeschliman was a junior varsity player as recently as the beginning of October. She was called up to the big team for Harvard's 5-0 loss to Connecticut. The team proceeded to win its next seven games, including Sunday's.


"I am just really thankful that [Coach] Tim Wheaton gave me an opportunity to play," Aeschliman said. "I never thought I'd be playing in the NCAA tournament. At the start of the year I wasn't even sure I'd be playing soccer at all; I just decided to go to the walk-on tryouts."

Aeschliman also earned this weeks Ivy League Rookie of the Week--her second such honor--for her efforts in aid of the Crimson cause.

Can her teammates and Harvard fans look for a repeat performance in Sunday's second-round matchup with George Mason?

"I'll do my best," said Aeschliman. "Hopefully Tim will put me in again. Whenever he calls my name it startles me because I just don't expect it."

Get used to it.

Any coach will tell you that a clutch performer is an asset not to be left on the bench. To have the best game of your career in the most important game of your career is the epitome of clutch.

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