DURHAM, N.H.--Once again the Crimson proved itself worthy of its position at the top of the list of New England lacrosse squads, yesterday afternoon. With a decisive 15-10 win the team earned its eighth straight victory, and now possesses an 8-1 record.
The stickmen wasted no time supporting their claim on superiority. At 1:27 in the opening period, senior co-captain Peter Predun gave the Wildcats an idea of the long afternoon he had planned for them. With a quick dodge move toward the cage, Predun duped his defender and fired in the first of six goals he stung UNH for over the course of the game. That total was a career high for the talented mid-fielder.
With the rest of Harvard's potent offense following its leader the team jumped out to a quick 4-0 lead. When attackman Rich Rainaldi decided to go for even more insurance halfway through the period, he shagged a Mike Davis pass, cut in front of the goal and then did an about face to meet Wildcat goalie Peter Sheehan head on before putting it into the twines.
Noting Sheehan's disbelief, Rainaldi switched gears and turned on the instant replay. Within 30 seconds, Rainaldi had his first Harvard hat trick, and the stickmen a 7-0 score.
In a moment of generosity, the Crimson let its energy level ebb just long enough for the embarrassed Wildcats to scratch out two garbage goals.
When play resumed Predun returned to pounding nails in the Wildcat coffin. Reeling in a fastbreak pass from fellow co-captain Dave Wigglesworth, Predun drove from the left to the front of the cage and opened the second quarter with another tally. Rainaldi quickly followed suit with the last of his markers--four for the days work--and the Crimson stood atop the mountain with a 9-2 advantage.
Charged up once more by the partisan crowd and generous refereeing, the Wildcats went on a four goal spree and regained some respectability. Included in this sudden burst was a score with the Crimson a man down. Although the UNH power play squad tried vainly to take advantage of the fouls called on the Crimson, this was the only time it could force its way through for the extra man goal.
Aside from the occasional bursts of offensive prowess, the Wildcats continually demonstrated their lack of finesse for dealing with the Harvard defense. With skilled sticks chasing at their heels UNH's mediocre attack bobbled many a chance.
That much heralded defense was the object of a series of inconsistent penalty calls. While Predun and Co. were forced to carry the UNH defensemen on their backs when moving near the crease, the Crimson's five man defense barely got a chance to move towards the Wildcat attackmen without hearing whistles.
Undaunted the Crimson midfield shouldered a load of the contact and came out on top. Controlling momentum by scooping up those ground balls--Wigglesworth and Predun snatched 12 and 10 respectively--the stickmen foiled the Wildcat drives time after time.
With another win under its belt the Crimson will now ready itself for Saturday's game against Princeton. Although a little worse for wear after yesterday's game, the team is more psyched up than beat up.