Senior attackman Greg Cohen, shown here in earlier action, was one of three Harvard players to score twice, but the Crimson offense tallied just eight goals despite launching 31 shots on goal. Meanwhile, Harvard’s defense continued to suffer, allowing 13
Last week, the Harvard men’s lacrosse team’s main bug-a-boo was the most integral part of the game: putting the ball in the net.
And with senior attackman Evan Calvert out for the second straight week with an ankle injury, the Crimson was plagued by a failure to capitalize on scoring opportunities again, as Harvard (0-2) fell to Stony Brook (1-1) by a 13-8 score in front of 1,542 fans at LaValle Stadium in Long Island, N.Y.
Despite 50 shots on the afternoon—31 of which were on goal—the Crimson managed just four goals from its starting attackman unit of senior Greg Cohen, junior Liam Griff, and sophomore Max Motschwiller.
That came in contrast with a Seawolves squad that scored 13 times on just 20 shots on goal.
“They had a good goaltender, but I think the main reason we weren’t scoring was that we didn’t get the goalie moving enough,” said junior attackman Brooks Scholl, who scored two points in the loss. “He was a really good goalie when he was set, but we didn’t have enough ball movement. If we had gotten him out of his set form, we would have been able to get a few more goals.”
But for as much as Stony Brook goaltender Brendan Callahan might have frustrated Harvard in net, it was the Crimson’s own mistakes that doomed the team—especially after the first quarter.
Harvard opened the game with a faceoff win by co-captain John Henry Flood, and, exactly a minute later, Cohen beat Callahan to give the Crimson its very first lead of the 2007 season. After the Seawolves knotted things at one 54 seconds later, a back-and-fourth quarter saw Harvard take a 3-2 lead with 4:05 to play in the first.
Two late Stony Brook goals gave the team a 4-3 lead that it would never relinquish.
“We were running up and down with them, but they were able to push the ball down the field,” co-captain Brian Mahler said. “They made their shots, and once that happened, it started to build and build, and we weren’t able to regroup.”
The score was 7-4 in favor of the Seawolves at halftime thanks to a late Harvard goal by junior midfielder Zach Widbin, but Stony Brook scored the first three goals after the break to make the margin 10-4 with 6:50 to go in the frame. After an 11-6 score after three, both teams scored twice in the fourth quarter to achieve the final score.
Scholl attributed the Seawolves’ surge to the same culprit that has plagued the Crimson all year—shooting.
“We felt pretty confident after halftime, but we hit a lot of pots in the second half,” he said. “That’s one of our big problems. We really need to work on our shooting.”
A spot that has also been problematic for Harvard is in goal. Sophomore Joe Pike once again got the start, but was relieved in the third quarter in favor of junior Evan O’Donnell. The backup allowed just three goals in his almost 22 minutes of work in the game, but most of the action O’Donnell saw was in garbage time.
The inability to score and the success others have had in putting the ball in the net—the Crimson has surrendered 26 goals through two games—has the team searching to find an answer.
“Right now, we’re a pretty frustrated team,” Mahler said. “This is our second game, and once again, I don’t think we played to our potential. We have a lot of things we can work on and improve on.”
That improvement must come quick if Harvard plans to take any momentum into the conference schedule, which starts on March 24 against Penn. The Crimson’s home-opener comes this Saturday against Massachusetts, last season’s NCAA runner-up.
“We’ve had a tough start, but we’re still really positive about the season,” Scholl said. “We haven’t played the Ivy weekends, so we just have to work hard. We’ve found out what we’ve got to work on, and next week we have an opportunity to get a big win.”
—Staff writer Malcom A. Glenn can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.