Long Island to Ivy League: Lax Attack Goes Way Back
Six feet tall. Left-handed. From Long Island, N.Y.
Men’s lacrosse co-captain Dean Gibbons and junior Jeff Cohen have a lot in common.
But most of all, the dynamic duo knows a thing or two about scoring. The attackmen have combined for 111 goals over the past two seasons—42 percent of Harvard’s scores during that time.
The pair has been putting the ball in the net with ease since playing for rival high schools in Nassau County.
“Lacrosse on Long Island is very competitive,” Gibbons explained. “There’s a lot of talented schools out there. You become a better player playing against talented competition. That’s helped my game and Jeff’s game.”
Gibbons, from Garden City, N.Y., starred in football and lacrosse before arriving in Cambridge. An All-American in lacrosse in 2006 and 2007, Gibbons finished his career as the owner of the Long Island single-season scoring record with 101 goals and tied with former Crimson attack Max Motschwiller ’09 as Long Island’s career scoring leader with 236 goals.
Along came Cohen, from Syosset, N.Y., also a football and lacrosse star. By the end of his high school career, he, like Gibbons, was a two-time All-American, and he had broken his future teammate’s all-time scoring mark with 260 goals.
But despite Cohen breaking his record, Gibbons always admired his fellow attackman’s talent in high school, a sentiment Cohen shared.
“We actually played together the summer going into my junior year, so we knew each other pretty well,” Cohen said. “I looked at him as a role model figure...I was always kind of competing with him and looking up to him.”
Gibbons came to Harvard in 2008 after being named a Top 15 Incoming Freshman by Inside Lacrosse Magazine and immediately made an impression, finishing second on the team with 28 points.
Cohen arrived a year later with the same distinction and did not disappoint. Following in the footsteps of his brothers—Crimson lacrosse alums Steve ’06 and Greg ’07—the freshman led the team with 34 goals and 41 points while being named the New England Rookie of the Year. Gibbons was second on the team in both categories.
Last season, it was Gibbons who led the squad with 41 points on 27 goals and was named to the All-Ivy Second Team. Cohen finished ahead of his teammate in scores with 29 but behind him in points with 37.
The duo stresses the importance of staying in shape, remaining disciplined, and playing hard at all times as the secret to its success.
In 2011, Gibbons and Cohen will get the chance to put their goal-scoring ability to the test in a new offensive system, and their rookie head coach is happy to have them both.
“Dean’s our quarterback; he’s the leader of our offense,” said Chris Wojick ’96, a former lacrosse All-American and captain. “He really gets everything going—the other players really feed off him...Jeff is an excellent shooter with range. He’s not just a finisher; he’s got a really powerful shot from the outside as well.”