Invited to the West Coast to take part in the lone NCAA Division I men’s lacrosse competition in California, Harvard men’s lacrosse did not disappoint, downing the University of Denver, 19-14, in a matchup of nationally-ranked teams this weekend.
While the Crimson reached the finals of the Ivy League Tournament in 2011, the Pioneers went 15-3 this spring in the best season in school history. Denver fell to eventual national champion Virginia in the semifinals of the NCAA Tournament and finished the year ranked fourth in the country.
But it was Harvard that wowed a crowd of 3,500 gathered at Kezar Stadium on Saturday afternoon for the third annual San Francisco Lacrosse Classic, an exhibition designed to grow the sport of lacrosse and raise funds for Bay Area youth athletics programs.
Sophomore attackman Daniel Eipp and junior midfielder Ryan Stevens each picked up hat tricks for the Crimson, which found itself in an early 3-1 hole before using a string of eight unanswered goals—knocked in by eight different players—to take a 9-3 halftime lead.
The Pioneers responded with a two-goal spurt after the intermission, but a streak of six scores for Harvard pushed the advantage to 15-5 with under six minutes to play in the third quarter. Stevens and Eipp each pitched in with a pair of goals in the decisive outburst of offense.
The Crimson’s lead grew as large as 19-8 with 4:45 remaining in regulation before the Pioneers bounced back with two goals.
Taking advantage of the opportunity to give their players more in-game experience, the two squads played a fifth quarter with a running clock, in which Denver scored four goals to Harvard’s zero.
Three attackmen—senior Jeff Cohen, sophomore Carl Zimmerman, and freshman Matt Scalise—along with junior midfielder Alex White each contributed two scores on the day for the Ivy League representative, which held advantages over its opponent in both shots and ground balls. Rookie Michel Keegan had a team-high two assists to go along with a goal.
Junior goalkeeper Harry Krieger made four saves in just over 45 minutes of action in the Crimson’s only competition of the fall 2011 season. Three other netminders received playing time for Harvard, and a total of 62 players from either side saw the field Saturday.
—Staff writer Dennis J. Zheng can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.