The Harvard men’s lacrosse team dropped under the .500 mark for the first time this season with a 16-4 road loss to No. 3 Notre Dame on Saturday.
The Crimson (6-7, 1-4 Ivy) played well early in the contest but were unable to overcome a 30-minute scoring drought midway through the game during which the Irish (12-1) netted six unanswered goals.
The win was the seventh straight for the Irish, who ended the regular season with a 6-0 record at home. It was also the seventh time this season Notre Dame has held its opponent to under five goals.
The loss was the fourth straight for the Crimson. Three of those four losses have come against teams ranked in the top ten.
“We knew going in we’d have to play well,” said sophomore attackman Matt Primm. “We’ve played Princeton and UMass, which are both in the top five, so we’ve been in this type of situation before.”
Saturday’s contest began well for the Crimson, as it managed to keep the Irish off the scoreboard until the 11:08 mark in the first period.
Harvard then responded quickly, with goals from sophomore Jay Wich and freshman Jeff Gottschall. Primm had the assists on both goals.
“Both goals were extra man goals, so it was nice to finally capitalize on those situations because it’s something we’ve had trouble with this year,” Primm said.
Freshman Jake McKenna shut out the Irish for the rest of the frame, and Harvard took a 2-1 lead into the second period.
The Crimson would not score in the second frame, however, and three Notre Dame goals midway through the quarter gave the Irish a 4-2 lead at the half.
Notre Dame senior attackman Tom Glatzel took over at the beginning of the third quarter, scoring two goals in the span of one minute to extend the Irish lead to four. He then assisted on senior Jon Harvey’s goal at the 7:12 mark of the period to put the Irish up, 7-2.
But Harvard would respond just seconds later when freshman midfielder Alex Vap scored on pass from Primm, his third assist of the day.
The two teams then traded goals, with Harvey scoring again for the Irish and Harvard getting a goal from co-captain Dana Sprong.
Sprong’s goal pulled the Crimson to within four, but again, Glatzel would take control for the Irish.
Glatzel scored three straight to close the frame and Notre Dame took an 11-4 lead going into the final quarter.
“Notre Dame caught some breaks in the second half and they were very confident and tough to catch when playing with the lead,” Primm said.
The Irish held the Crimson scoreless in the final frame and scattered five goals of its own to end the game with eight unanswered goals and the 16-4 win.
“We had some bad breaks in the second half. We hit a lot of pipes,” Primm said.
McKenna played all but the final six minutes of the contest, making 21 saves while allowing 13 goals. Senior goaltender Ely Kahn finished the game for the Crimson and ended with one save and three goals against.
Notre Dame outshot the Crimson, 54-26, for the game, including 29-7 in the second half.
Notre Dame’s 12-1 finish is its best regular season record in the team’s 21-year history. The Irish will await the NCAA tournament selections next Sunday, May 8.
The Crimson will be on the road against Colgate on Tuesday, May 1. Harvard will end its regular season Saturday night in Hanover with an Ivy League game against Dartmouth.
“We are a talented team and we want to come out with a winning record this year,” Primm said. “If we play as hard as we did this weekend we’ll come away with two wins.”