“It was nice to get a win under our belt after a pretty lengthy losing streak,” Duboe said. “We’ve been putting forth a pretty good effort in each game earlier this season. A couple of bounces not going our way caused us to not come out with the wins we should have. It was great to feel good for once after a game.”
After the Crusaders jumped on the board in the first just two minutes into play, Harvard retaliated with a punishing 7-0 run that lasted through the first two quarters and put the game out of reach.
Over the course of play the Crimson offense outshot Holy Cross, 45-22. The discrepancy was 16-3 in the first period alone.
“It was a good effort all around,” co-captain Nick La Fiura said. “Our offense is finally coming together really well. Their confidence is pretty apparent in the way that they move the ball around.”
Controlling possession, Harvard scooped up 46 groundballs to the Crusaders’ 25 and won 15 of 21 faceoffs. The Crimson also uncharacteristically capitalized on three of four extra-man opportunities and, true to form, killed both of the Holy Cross opportunties. Headed into Saturday’s game, Harvard scored on just 11 of 38 such opportunities but shut out opponents on 25 of their 33 chances, the third best percentage in the Ivy League.
Freshman attacker Dean Gibbons contributed three assists and a goal to tie his personal career high point tally, following last game’s four-goal bonanza.
“Dean is really comfortable with the pace of the college game now,” Duboe said. “I think he’s always been ready physically. He’s just figured out in his head that he’s one of the top players in the country in his position and so now he’s starting to play like it. It’ll be fun to see his development over the next seasons.”
In the first stanza, sophomore attacker Jesse Fehr answered Holy Cross’s opening goal with one of his own just 20 seconds later and his teammates, junior midfielder Max Motschwiller, freshman attacker Francis Ellis and Burr lit up Crusader goalie Jimmy Harrison with a barrage of scoring, three goals in under 90 seconds.
Though in this period the Crimson divided face-offs with Holy Cross—three for each team—Harvard led in groundballs, 12-5, dictating the pace of the game.
Rounding out the first half, Burr struck twice more, while junior midfielder Nick Sapia and Duboe each notched a score.
The Crusaders answered with their second goal with 5:30 to play in the half. At intermission the scoreboard was tilted 8-2.
After the break, Duboe scored his second of the day at 12:13 and co-captain Brooks Scholl added his own at 9:36 remaining.
Holy Cross snuck in an even strength goal with less than a minute to play in the period.
The fourth period held more of the same, though the Crusaders were able to pump in three more to make for their six goal total.
Duboe completed his hat trick with 6:55 remaining.
“I took a ton of shots,” Duboe said after taking 13 shots on the day. “I didn’t shoot particularly well and I could have moved the ball a little more. My goals came on shots I considered lucky to drop. In my personal game, I have to work on shooting percentage.”
Ultimately, this long-awaited win put the wind back in the team’s sails as they head to Yale next week still searching for an Ivy victory.
“They beat us last year and we’d like to get that one,” La Fiura said. “Obviously, it’s Harvard-Yale.”
A final game against Dartmouth will cap the season.
“Our biggest loss is going to be Zach Widbin, but our main contributors will be returning and we’ve played so many games that were so close this year,” he added. “It’s very exciting for Harvard lacrosse as a program looking forward.”
—Staff writer Elizabeth A. Joyce can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.