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BRIEF: Harvard Men's Lacrosse Stumbles Against Cornell

Despite a duo of hat tricks from junior midfielder Joe Lang and freshman attackman Ryan Graff, Cornell surged to a 12-9 victory behind four unanswered goals in the fourth quarter.

Harvard (5-5, 1-2 Ivy) has dropped five of its last six after starting the season 4-0. Meanwhile, the resurgent Big Red (3-6, 2-2 Ivy) has won three of its last four after starting the season 0-5.

In typical Harvardian lacrosse fashion, Graff lead the Crimson to a 3-2 lead after the first frame, scoring the game’s opening goal 1:24 into play, and adding his second of the afternoon with 2:59 to play in the first quarter.

Harvard has struck first in all but two games this season. Consistent early offense has left the Crimson trailing after the first quarter in just three games this season—Harvard averages 3.3 first-quarter goals, as compared to 2.5 and 2.3 in the second and third quarters, respectively.

Lang carried the Crimson’s momentum into the second quarter, scoring the periods first two goals to put Harvard up 5-2. Cornell responded minutes later, as Clarke Petterson kicked off the Big Red’s rebuttal, firing home the first of Cornell’s five unanswered goals that left Harvard trailing 7-5.

Junior attackman Tim Edmonds’ 10th goal of the season stopped the bleeding with 8:58 to play in the third quarter. Edmonds has scored in seven straight contests.

The Big Red managed to hold Harvard’s leading scorer, junior attackman Morgan Cheek, scoreless for the first time this season. Cornell dialed-up the heat on the nation’s fifth leading scorer, and while Cheek tallied no goals, he affected the game with his passing, exploiting the extra defensive pressure, and assisting thrice.

After a rough stretch of games at the faceoff X, Harvard’s unit showed improvement on Saturday, winning 11 of 25 attempts. Cornell came into the game ranked 60th nationally and second-to-last in the Ivy League in faceoff percentage (.401). The Crimson’s .373 clip ranks 63rd in the country, and last in the Ivy League.

Harvard has tried a multitude of faceoff strategies this season—alternating between twin poles, and five different men at the X, but to no avail. Sophomore midfielder James Sullivan won ten faceoffs on Saturday, his first time reaching double figures since recording 12 wins against Holy Cross in Harvard’s second game of the season.

With 11:33 to play in the fourth quarter, Lang brought Harvard back within one, trailing 8-7, but Cornell’s Jeff Teat dashed the Crimson’s hopes, contributing two of the Big Red’s subsequent four unanswered goals that left Harvard 12-7 down with 4:21 to play.

Harvard will look to rebound against Penn (4-5, 1-3 Ivy) next weekend at Harvard Stadium.

—Staff writer Will Robbins can be reached at will.robbins@thecrimson.com

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