M. Soccer Wants Scoring Kick Start

Date Published: 
Harvard Crimson

Close, competitive, low-scoring soccer matches are fun to watch, but the Harvard men's soccer team is not looking for another nail-biting, overtime contest when it begins Ivy League play at Columbia tomorrow at 2:30 p.m.

The Crimson (0-1-1) travels to New York City in desperate need of its first victory. But if Harvard is going to win, the Crimson offense needs to prove that it can score when a goal is needed.

"We are definitely excited about beginning the league season, but what we really want is to win," junior midfielder Paul Cantagallo said. "We have played tough in both games so far and we have not given anything away. We just haven't really created many scoring opportunities for ourselves."

The Harvard defense has been responsible for sending the first two games into overtime. As the offense sputtered against both No. 8 Stanford and Central Connecticut State, the back four shut out the Blue Devils and gave up only one goal to the Cardinal. Senior goalkeeper Jordan Dupuis has played well in the early going with 12.

Columbia (1-2) presents an even match for the Crimson. Its offensive stars, sophomore forward Leslie Fitzpatrick and senior midfielder Rino Matarazzo, will challenge Harvard's defense. Fitzpatrick, a Second Team All-Ivy selection last year, and Matarazzo, an honorable mention pick, each have one goal in 1998.

But Harvard's main concern is its own offense. Junior forward Will Hench, a Second Team All-Ivy selection last year, was second on the team last year with five goals and three assists, but the Crimson offense clearly misses 1997 Ivy Player of the Year Tom McLaughlin, who was drafted by the New England Revolution.

"We lost our bona fide scorer," Cantagallo said. "Right now, nobody has stepped up and asserted himself up front. What we need is someone who is going to score for us when we need it. We just need to get hungrier, especially when the ball is around the goal box."

"We knew coming in that scoring goals was going to be an issue for us and everyone is disappointed that we haven't been able to find a score yet," Coach Steve Locker said. "It's a little bit of a daunting situation."

Despite the disappointing start, the Crimson has kept both games competitive. With the defense playing so well, one goal might be enough to beat the Lions.

"We have only played two games and as we keep playing, the way the team works together is going to get better," Dupuis said. "As we keep going, I think we will start finding the net up front."