The Crimson stickmen travel to Ithaca today to face the top-ranked Cornell laxmen. Harvard has won its last two games while the home team has taken twenty straight, including last Spring's NCAA championship game.
One of the scalps the Big Red has collected in that stretch is Crimson, garnered here in Cambridge last year, 21-7. The most important of Cornell's four 1977 victories came Saturday, when the national champions overcame an early five-goal deficit to edge second-ranked Hopkins, 12-11.
Without graduated attackmen Mike French and Jon Levine, the current Big Red squad is a little less explosive than the unstoppable 1976 version. Going into last year's contest with Harvard, Cornell had scored 125 tallies in six games, topped the 20-goal mark four times, and exploded for a high of 26.
In its four victories this year, Cornell has averaged only 15 goals a try and has failed to tally more than 17 in any one game. But maybe Cornell doesn't have to score as much this year, Harvard coach Bob Scalise said yesterday.
The reason is defense. The Big Red returns last year's All-American goalie, Dan Mackesey, and a superb set of defensemen. Even though the star net-minder has yet to round into top form, the team has allowed only 32 goals so far this spring.
After two years of passing off to French and Levine, 150-lb. superstar Eamon McEneaney finally has the spotlight all to himself. Harvard will try hard to control the diminutive menace while the Crimson's own talented attack trio tries to get at Mackesey. The contest may be closer this time around, but when all is said and done, look for the longer winning streak to survive.