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The bottom line in almost all sports is that you need to score more than your opponents. No matter how pretty or ugly it all is the scoreboard is all that matters.
The Harvard women's soccer team (4-1, 1-0 Ivy) can take this fact to heart knowing that it is on a two-game winning streak.
However, thinking a little more about that bottom line during today's game against the Boston College Eagles will serve the Crimson in good stead.
Harvard is coming off a two-victory weekend where the scoreboard did not tell the whole story.
"We're feeling really positive," said senior Kristen Bowes. "We played really well Sunday and there was no doubt that we were going to come out ahead."
Harvard did dominate play-ripping more than 30 shots on goal-but when the final whistle blew the scoreboard told of a narrowly earned win by the slimmest of margins-1-0-over Colorado.
"The score doesn't bother us," said sophomore Beth Zotter. "Our level of play is much higher and has been going up consistently. We're starting to gel as a team and we're very excited."
However, the Colorado win and an identical 1-0 victory over Columbia on Friday inspire doubt as to the offense's ability to do what it is designed to do: score.
Zotter feels that part of the problem may be thinking more about the nature of the play and not the end result.
"A lot of finishing in the box is pure grit," Zotter said. "We're a finesse team and we want everything to look good, to make the perfect shot. We need to do the dirty things, even a poke or an elbow, to get the ball in the goal. We don't always need the pretty goal, it is all the same on paper."
Practices have reflected this recommitment to simply scoring as finishing and shooting drills have been a priority. But attitude is another crucial ingredient to putting numbers on the board.
"We're very confident that we will click," Bowes said. "We need to dive, fly, do whatever we can to score. I think tomorrow may be a game where we can get four or five goals and get that momentum for the rest of the season."
In the meanwhile, the defense has been rock solid. Goalies junior Jen Burney and sophomore Anne Browning have turned away almost everything they have faced all season.
Burney, who has shouldered the bulk of time, leads the league in both save percentage (.882) and goals allowed (0.56). The defense has excelled at keeping the opposition chances to a minimum.
"Our defense has gotten a whole lot better," Zotter said. "The contribution to the offense has also improved."
"We have been good at winning the ball, but we have given it right back. Now we're counter-attacking a lot better."
All this adds up to a team that is looking forward to and is ripe for a break-through dominating victory.
The chemistry has been improving and now there is that twinge of desperation that may inspire that large number on the scoreboard that this team needs.
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