Sticking it to Them
Although the Crimson stickmen ended the 1980 season with a disappointing 12-8 playoff loss to the defending national champion Johns Hopkins Blue Jays, that very game marked the high point of one of thefinest years in the history of Harvard lacrosse, with the squad making its first appearance ever in NCAA post season action.
Between the two losses to Hopkins--the Blue Jays shocked the Crimson 13-3 in the season opener--the laxmen burned through one opponent after another. An eight game winning streak, an unexpected 9-8 loss to Princeton, and another three wins to finish regular play filled out the schedule in which Harvard compiled an 11-3 record.
After the first loss to the Blue Jays, the Crimson sailed past Delaware and cruised into Cambridge with sights set, on gunning down perennial Ivy power, Cornell.
Sophomore Mike Davis joined forces with veteran co-captain Dave Wigglesworth to provide the necessary offensive punch. The two midfielders combined for seven goals over the course of the game with four coming during a second and third quarter thrust which set up the 12-8 victory.
Against Cornell, the home fans got their first look at the team's newest star. John Lechner, an attackman turned goalie, filled the shoes and more of the graduated Ken First. Only Lechner's 27 saves opposite Adelphi in the final game of the regular season, topped the 24 he turned back against the Big Red.
Seven games and seven wins later, the Crimson was ready to avenge a 1979 loss to Princeton. Sadly, the Tigers got the gest of the stickmen, ruining their chances to sole claim of the Ivy Crown; Harvard eventually shared it with Cornell.
While his teammates aided him, Harvard defenseman Haywood Miller played another superb game while handcuffing Princeton All-American Dave Heubeck. Miller along with Scott Pink and Frank Prezioso formed the air-tight defense that stifled many big guns.
Two days after the loss to Princeton, which dropped the Crimson from seventh to tenth in the national rankings, the squad scored its first victory ever on UMass turf. When All-American middie Pete Predun found himself double-teamed by the Minutemen, he cooly pulled his defenders away from the cage and allowed frosh superstar Brendan Meagher to pick up the slack and pace the Laxmen to an 11-8 win.
Predun waited until the following Saturday, then while leading the Crimson to a 15-12 win over Adelphi, posted three goals and an assist to move into the number two spot on the Harvard All-time scoring list. The playoff loss brought an end to Predun's fine career and with it closed out an era in Harvard lacrosse.