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After scoring five goals against the team that was at the top of the Ivies, the Harvard men’s soccer team had no trouble taking care of a winless Providence team yesterday-—even if the Crimson had to play without three of its regular starters.
Harvard (9-5-0, 3-1-0 Ivy) continued its October magic, rolling past winless Providence (0-14-0, 0-8-0 Big East) 3-0 yesterday afternoon at Ohiri Field to run its season-high win streak to five games.
The blanking was the Crimson’s third shutout in five games, and it has now surpassed last year’s win total of eight.
“It feels good,” said junior captain and defender Will Craig. “Our offense is definitely picking it up at the right time.”
The victory came despite the services of junior goalkeeper Ryan Johnson, senior defender Jason Andersen and sophomore defender Tom Stapleton, all of whom are nursing injuries and are listed as day-to-day.
Senior defender Sam Wiggin was also missing for most of the game, after picking up a red card in the 21st minute and forcing Harvard to play a man down for the rest of the afternoon. The ejection was the Crimson’s third of the year.
“Sam got an elbow from the guy four or five seconds earlier,” Kerr said. “It always happens-—you retaliate and you get punished. It was a lack of discipline by Sam, and he’s very sorry about it.”
But while it was at full strength, Harvard wasted no time in attacking the weaker Friars. Only five minutes into the game, junior midfielder Anthony Tornaritis fired a free kick from just outside the penalty box past the helpless Providence keeper.
“We wanted to try and jump on Providence early and take them out of the game,” Crimson coach John Kerr said. “They don’t have a great record, and we knew that if we get on top of them early, they’d have a tough time to climb back.”
Just 21 seconds after the first goal, junior midfielder Nicholas Tornaritis, put Harvard ahead 2-0 with a rocket to the bottom left corner.
“[Sophomore forward Matt] Hoff touched it back to me,” Nicholas Tornaritis said. “I dribbled toward the net. I was right at the top of the 18 and [the ball] was in front of me, so I thought I’d hit it and it went in. It felt good.”
Harvard’s offensive outburst has been quite impressive over the past five games, having scored 16 goals during that span. Prior to this streak, the Crimson had scored just 12 goals in its opening nine games.
After both Tornaritis brothers—who are tied for second place in points in the Ivy League—sophomore forward Charles Altchek has been the biggest catalyst. He was just named Ivy League Player of the Week for his strong performance against Princeton on Saturday, when he had two goals and one assist.
And with the offense providing the early lead yesterday, Harvard’s defense took over the game, allowing only six shots that were all stopped by senior back-up goalie Jamie Roth, even without the help of Andersen, Stapleton and Wiggin.
“We defended well as a team,” Craig said. “It wasn’t just the goalie and the back line. I was pretty happy with the shutout today, especially after giving up two poor goals to Princeton on Saturday.”
Despite playing shorthanded for much of the game, the Crimson continued to dominate. Junior midfielder Jeffrey Chivers secured the win with a goal in the 55th minute.
After passing the ball to Craig, Chivers took the return feed and triggered a low shot to the bottom left corner to put Harvard ahead 3-0. The tally was the second of Chivers’ career, the first coming in the contest against the Tigers.
“Chivers has been solid coming off the bench,” Kerr said. “His confidence is higher, and he scored a great goal today.”
Chivers was just one of the many players that saw increased playing time against Providence. Competing against a weak team and trying to rest many of his regulars, Kerr gave most of his players a chance to play.
“We’ve had a really talented team all around,” Kerr said. “The guys that came off the bench played well. I’m not afraid to put them in at all.”
With the extra time off, Kerr hopes that many injured regulars will be well-rested for Sunday’s big match against Dartmouth (2-0-2, 4-2-6). And if they’re not, Kerr now has a better idea of who could fill their shoes.
“Today was a good opportunity for me to see some other players for the weekend, just in case we need them,” Kerr said. “We’ve got some talented players all over the field, and it’s nice to have some depth, especially going into three tough games as we go into the final stages of the Ivy League.”
The final stages of the Ivy League season begin for Harvard this weekend as the Crimson face-off against the Big Green in a battle of league elites. Harvard is currently tied for first in the league with Dartmouth and Yale.
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