The New Order will have to wait. Established lacrosse power UMass all but clinched its third consecutive New England title Saturday, blowing a 12-9 lead, but then holding Harvard scoreless over the final seven minutes to survive, 12-11.
The Crimson stickmen traveled to Amherst, ranked number one in New England, with visions of a top-ten national ranking and a place in the NCAA tournament dancing in their heads. Instead, the fast-improving Harvard squad will have to wait until next year.
"If we were going to go to the tournament, we had to win that game," coach Bob Scalise said yesterday.
The Minutemen came into the contest ranked right behind Harvard, and the battle was as close as everyone expected. After UMass grabbed an early 2-0 advantage, tallies by Pete Predun, Gordie Nelson and Steve Martin gave the visitors from Harvard the lead.
As the final second of the first quarter ticked off, Pete Martin scored for the Minutemen to knot the score at 3-3.
"The nature of the game is often dictated by the first quarter," Scalise said. In the first 15 minutes, Minuteman goalie Dan Goldstein made a number of superb saves. The Crimson coach feels this made his shooters overly cautions the rest of the game, thinking too much about placing the shot.
In the second stanza, the two teams traded goals. Three times, UMass grabbed a one-goal lead, and three times Harvard came right back. Jimmy Ossyra's second marker of the quarter pulled the Crimson even at the half, 6-6.
Bush Does It
Five minutes into the third quarter, Bill Forbush beat UMass netminder Goldstein to give Harvard its first lead of the contest. With their New England title string hanging in the balance, the Minutemen fired in five of the next six tallies to take an 11-8 lead.
Harvard's only score during that streak came from Mike Faught. The junior attackman had exploded for 45 goals in his previous eight games but, except, for this one outburst, UMass defenseman Pete Clement shut him out.
'Turn for the Worst
Harvard hadn't racked up its 8-3 record by giving up when things started to go bad, and as time ran down, the Crimson stickmen climbed back into the contest. Dave Wigglesworth, Nelson and Jamie Egasti sandwiched goals around a tally by UMass to pull the Crimson within one with almost seven full minutes remaining.
UMass's only fourth-quarter tally, the final goal of Dave Martin's hat trick, proved to be the game winner, however. Try as it might, Harvard could not break through for the tying goal, and UMass held on to defend its New England title, 12-11.