Junior midfielder JEFF GOTTSCHALL scored twice as the Crimson built a 6-4 lead Saturday against Yale, but Harvard couldn’t hold on as the Bulldogs reeled off seven consecutive goals and won 11-6.
The Harvard men’s lacrosse team celebrated Senior Night on Saturday as it hosted its last home game of the season in front of a capacity crowd at Jordan Field. The scene was set for a dramatic victory, but Yale managed to spoil the evening for the Crimson, making a big second-half surge to take the game 11-6.
“Watching [the Bulldogs] dance on the field after the game was one of the most painful things,” said freshman attack Sean Kane, who led the Crimson in points with two goals and an assist. “I think everyone on the team vows to never let that happen again.”
Kane tallied a man-up goal at the beginning of the second half to give Harvard (4-8, 1-4 Ivy) a 6-4 lead, but the Crimson offense remained scoreless for the rest of the game.
Yale (8-3, 2-3 Ivy), meanwhile, replied with seven unanswered goals, outshooting Harvard 25-11 in the second half.
Just as it did in its loss earlier in the week to UMass, the Crimson outperformed its opponent in faceoffs and ground balls, but could not capture the win. Harvard won 16-of-21 faceoffs and picked up 26-of-43 ground balls.
“It’s frustrating when you outplay a team in every category except goals,” Kane said.
Adding to this frustration was the Crimson’s continued inability to put together two solid halves of play.
“The game was in keeping with the theme of our season,” tri-captain attack Matt Primm said. “We played one great half and one mediocre half.”
In the first period, Harvard jumped to an early lead as tri-captain midfielder Doug Logigian netted an unassisted goal just 47 seconds into the game, but Yale answered with three goals in three minutes. With 1:46 left in the first period, junior midfielder Jeff Gottschall made a run from midfield across the goal mouth and scored off a pass from Kane behind the net to bring the Crimson within one.
Harvard dominated the second period, outshooting the Bulldogs 19-2 and winning all five faceoffs. Gottschall and freshman attack Steve Cohen scored back-to-back man-up goals and Kane netted his first goal of the night to give the Crimson a 5-4 lead at halftime.
But Harvard’s second-period momentum quickly faded as the team struggled to get any production offensively.
The Crimson continued to maintain possession, but its attackers could not find room to shoot amidst Yale’s stifling defense.
“It’s frustrating because we have so much talent but we can only put it together for 30 minutes of a 60-minute game,” Primm said.
As Harvard floundered, the Bulldogs began to click, finding seams in the Crimson defense and capitalizing on their scoring opportunities.
At the beginning of the fourth period, Yale came up with the ball after a fierce scramble at midfield. Ned Britt converted the opportunity at the 14:29 mark to set the tone for the rest of the game.
With 7:36 remaining, Seth Goldberg scored his third goal of the game for the Bulldogs. Yale won the ensuing faceoff and 13 seconds later Michael Scaglione also capped off a hat-trick.
The Crimson continued to battle, making big hits and diving to win possession as balls went out of bounds, but the Bulldogs’ shots were finding the back of the net and Harvard’s offense could not come up with a response.
The seniors took the loss in their last career home game and final contest against the Bulldogs especially hard.
“It’s not hard to get fired up for Harvard-Yale,” Kane said. “All of the seniors put their heart and soul into the game and I just feel bad we couldn’t give it to them.”
“For all of the seniors it was a really meaningful night and it’s really disappointing that we couldn’t get the win,” Primm said.
The Crimson returns to action on Saturday when it travels to South Bend, Ind. to face No. 19 Notre Dame.
“I don’t think anybody is going to have their heads down for long,” Kane said. “It hurts right now, but we’ll come back strong.”