Just as it did when Duke visited Cambridge two years ago, the Harvard men’s lacrosse team fell behind big in its contest against the No. 14/15 Blue Devils Monday night.
This time around, the Crimson (2-3) managed to avoid a blowout with a desperation fourth-period comeback attempt that netted four goals. But the late flurry was not nearly enough, as Harvard fell to the Blue Devils, 11-8, in Durham, N.C.
The squads went into the half tied at four, but Duke (4-3) dominated the third period, scoring seven times while outshooting the Crimson, 14-8, to take an 11-4 lead.
“Duke did a great job capitalizing on our mistakes,” senior attackman Jeff Cohen said. “I give them a lot of credit. We were a little soft in the third quarter, and they took advantage of that.”
Jordan Wolf had two tallies in the period for the Blue Devils, who scored bookend goals 22 seconds into the quarter and with 12 seconds remaining—plus five times in between—to take control of the game.
It was a rough introduction to the collegiate level for highly-touted goalie prospect Jake Gambitsky, who was given a chance to start by Crimson coach Chris Wojcik ’96 after junior Harry Krieger had suffered two consecutive losses.
“They just had a really good offense,” Gambitsky said. “I was just trying to keep my composure out there.... They were possessing the ball a lot and were getting some good looks inside. It took us a while to adjust.”
The Crimson finally adjusted in the fourth, scoring four times.
Cohen registered an unassisted goal 12:44 into the final period, and two minutes later, junior midfielder Ryan Stevens beat Duke goalie Mike Rock—also making his first start of the year—for Stevens’ first score of the season.
After back-to-back slashing and holding penalties on Duke’s Chris Hipps and Greg DeLuca, respectively, Cohen poured in two more man-up scores, his fourth and fifth of the contest. The senior currently ranks fifth in the nation in goals per game.
“Every time we need a goal, [Jeff] takes it upon himself,” Gambitsky said. “We count on him to pick us up and get one for us. He’s a big impact player, and he really makes a difference out there.”
But the Crimson was unable to muster anything else over the final 4:30 and dropped its third straight.
“We responded with a good fourth quarter, but in the end I think it was too large of a margin to overcome, and we couldn’t put it together in the end,” Gambitsky said.
Harvard jumped out to an early 2-0 lead in the first. Ten minutes into the period, sophomore attackman Daniel Eipp beat Rock for the game’s first score. Moments later, Eipp found freshman Will Walker, who put the Crimson up two.
But the Blue Devils responded to tie things up. Just seconds after Walker’s goal, Duke’s Josh Dionne took a pass from Christian Walsh and beat Gambitsky to cut the deficit in half. Two minutes into the second period, Walsh provided the equalizer with an unassisted score.