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Sparked by midfielders Marty Cain and Jim Kilkowski, Harvard's varsity lacrosse team finally played up to its potential as it humbled a cocky Princeton squad, 10-9, in overtime last Saturday on muddy Soldiers Field.
It is the first time that Harvard has beaten the Tigers in 43 years. Last year's Ivy lacrosse champions, Princeton has been favored to repeat its first place finish this season. This was the Tigers' first Ivy game.
Cain notched the winning goal early in the overtime frame. Despite a leg injury that slowed him down considerably in the later stages of the contest, he managed to break down the right side of the field past the Tiger defense, cut toward the net and drill a hard shot past the startled Princeton goalie's outstretched stick.
Harvard forced the game into overtime when Kilkowski snared a pass from fellow midfielder Bruce Regan and tallied with only 13 seconds remaining in regulation play. The score capped a three goal rally that saw the Crimson fight back from a 9-6 deficit with about eight minutes on the clock.
For the first time this season Harvard put together a balanced team effort. Controlling the ball for the last 20 minutes of regular play and the entire extra frame, the Crimson showed depth that had been woefully absent during its losses to Cornell and Brown.
In an effort to sustain a steady drive the entire game and avoid the usual "Harvard choke" in the final period, Coach Bruce Munro shifted his strategy and started three midfields instead of the normal two.
The experiment worked as the third midfield put Harvard on the scoreboard first. Coming off a scramble, Jack Fitzgerald took a Chuck Wiggin pass and shot past two Tiger defensemen to give Harvard its only lead in the first period and the rest of the regular game.
Princeton quickly retaliated but could only manage four-goals the entire first half as the fired-up Crimson tied the score before halftime.
In the third quarter, Princeton rapidly scored three goals, but outstanding defensive play by Harvard's Mike Ananis, who cleared the ball past the Tigers and set up the attack and Bob McDowell, who held Princeton shooting ace Kirk Unruh scoreless, enabled the Crimson to fight back to within one goal by the end of the frame.
In an effort to stop the Crimson, Princeton got rough in the last regular period. But despite putting goalie Kirby Wilcox out for the rest of the season with a broken collarbone, the Tigers were unable to stop Harvard from putting on the final surge that set up Kilkowski's tying score.
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