Late Lead, Postseason Slip Away for Men's Lax
They say that lacrosse is the fastest game played on two feet.
If that’s the case, then it’s not hard to imagine how painful it was for the Harvard men’s lacrosse team to go scoreless over the final 10:01 of the fourth quarter against Yale, letting the win it needed to make the postseason slip away.
A week after upsetting No. 6 Princeton, the Crimson (6-6, 2-4 Ivy) had improbably put itself in a win-and-in scenario, needing only to beat its archrival Bulldogs (10-3, 4-2) to secure a spot in the inaugural Ivy League Tournament.
Instead, Yale, which trailed for almost the entire second and third quarters, staged an impressive comeback and limited Harvard to only one goal in the fourth quarter to ice a 9-8 victory and secure its spot in the four-team conference tournament.
The Crimson, which was only 1-3 when giving up the game’s first goal this season, fell behind, 2-0, after the Bulldogs scored two unassisted goals within the first five minutes. Harvard wouldn’t strike back until sophomore Jeff Cohen scored off an assist from classmate Kevin Vaughan with three minutes left in the first quarter.
Despite holding a 13-5 shot advantage in the first, the Crimson headed into the second quarter with a 2-1 deficit on its plate.
“We came out very slow,” junior midfielder Andrew Parchman said. “We had a lot of shot opportunities but didn’t capitalize on [them]. They had a lot of breaks early, and we didn’t come back how we could have.”
Senior Jason Duboe opened the scoring in the second frame with an unassisted goal that evened the score at 2-2 with 13:49 left in the quarter. Another Vaughan-to-Cohen score at the 6:51 mark gave Harvard its first lead of the game, 3-2.
But the lead was short-lived, as Yale’s Brendan Gibson tied the game back up just over a minute later.
“[Jeff and Kevin] are both excellent players who hold a bright future for the program,” senior defenseman Ben Smith said. “Kevin was really challenging the opposition, and both of those guys are starting to build some chemistry, and they’re starting to be really effective.”
Junior Dean Gibbons and Cohen each recorded a goal as the second quarter came to a close to give the Crimson a 5-3 lead heading into the half. Even though Harvard held a 23-9 shot advantage at halftime, the Crimson was only able to maintain a slim lead due to the Bulldogs’ efficient shooting and just two saves by freshman goalie Harry Krieger.
Co-captain Travis Burr added another goal for Harvard at the opening of the third quarter to stretch the Crimson’s lead to 6-3.
Harvard was unable to bury Yale, though, and Bulldog leading scorer Brian Douglass scored his 30th goal of the season to close the gap to 6-4.
Sophomore Andrew Pataki committed a costly illegal body-check penalty later in the quarter, and Yale capitalized with a goal 13 seconds later to come within one of the Crimson.
Gibbons scored his second goal of the game to put Harvard back up by two, but the Bulldogs scored the final two goals of the period—including one with nine seconds left—to tie the game at seven entering the final quarter.