For the Harvard lacrosse team, Saturday's game was a matter of too little, too late. The stickmen dominated the second half but lost their race with the clock and tenth-ranked UMass, 13-11, because the visiting Minutemen had swamped the Crimson in the first 30 minutes of the contest, 10-3.
Harvard's vaunted "run-and-gun" offense started to click soon after the half-time intermission. After Jimmy Ossyra scored to cut the UMass lead to 10-4, sophomore Bill Forbush raced downfield on a fast break and slipped the ball past Minuteman goalie Don Goldstein.
UMass attackman Jeff Spooner, who holds all of his school's career scoring records, notched his fourth goal of the afternoon to boost the Minuteman advantage, but Gordie Nelson answered for Harvard and then, on a man-up opportunity, Steve Martin racked up the first goal of his hat trick.
Kevin Patterson, one of 13 UMass seniors back from the team that routed Harvard last year, 18-7, got the Minutemen their 12th tally of the day, but in the final minutes of the quarter, when Jamie Egasti's shot hit the pipe, Martin scooped up the rebound and slipped the ball just inside the left pipe to again cut the lead to four, 12-8.
UMass got its last goal of the day just 32 seconds into the final stanza. On a two-on-one break, Fred Menna fired a beautiful pass to Dave Martin, all alone in front of the goal. Crimson netminder Jim Michelson came out to meet him vigorously enough to be called for a penalty, but Martin bounced the ball into the net anyway.
At that point, sophomore Kenny First took over in the Harvard net, shutting out the Minutemen the rest of the way. It was a matter, then, of whether or not the offense could get enough goals to tie. Unfortunately, the strong UMass defense, aided by some sloppy Crimson clears, saw to it that Harvard managed only three.
Martin fed the ball to Bobby Mellen for goal number nine at 2:20, then got another of his own eight minutes later, but that was all she wrote. Like the Crimson rally itself, Gary Pedroni's goal with only three seconds left was just too late to make a difference.
In another shuffling of the Harvard lineup, Pedroni started on attack with fellow freshman Mike Ward, while the usual regulars, Chico MacKenzie and Pete Predun, moved to midfield.
The crucial first half was all UMass. The visitors roared out to a quick lead on goals by Norm Smith, Terry Keefe and Menna, before MacKenzie and Ward countered for the 17th-ranked Crimson. Then UMass put the game away by ripping of five straight markers and then, after Pedroni got the first of the day, shutting out the Crimson in the second quarter while Spooner and Smith were stretching the bulge to 10-3.
Meanwhile, at Ithaca, Tommy Marino exploded for five goals and Eamon McEneaney garnered seven points as Cornell blasted the Princeton Tigers, 15-7. The win, Cornell's 25th straight, virtually wrapped up the national champions' seventh Ivy title in eight years.
The Harvard stickmen, whose record dropped to 4-7 with Saturday's setback, wrap up their season this week with games against Williams and Dartmouth. The team will meet the Ephmen here in Cambridge tomorrow, then travel to Hanover on Saturday.
The Crimson laxmen blasted Williams last spring, 19-8, with Martin tying a Harvard record with eight assists. Harvard beat Dartmouth in sudden-death overtime in 1975 for its only Ivy victory, and then routed the Big Green last year, 19-5.