The brawl after this weekend's 8-6 men's lacrosse loss to Rutgers never really materialized. Defenseman Brian Edmonds tried to grapple with an unidentified defense man on the other team, and lots of guys rushed over in anticipation of fireworks, but teammate Brendan Meagher immediately flung Edmonds away from the brewing storm, and both sides walked calmly off the field. Another disappointing day for Harvard lacrosse came to a close.
Rutgers out-thought and out-bustled Harvard Saturday. It scored the first goal of the game, sealed the Crimson offense with a tight four minutes into the second half with the last in a string of five unanswered goals.
Harvard passed poorly, careened shots on goal right into the belly button of Rutgers goalie John Naslonski, and generally did little to indicate that it is a team that can, at times, play inspired lacrosse. In a sense, the Crimson's performance mirrored the threatened-but-never-realized hostilities afterwards.
The team hinted at all-out effort, but never sustained it. For brief spurts it tapped into the competitive spirit that has to be under the placid demeanor somewhere, but in the end, it was always Rutgers shooting and scoring after a bruising hit and jostling hard enough for the ground hall to finally be able to pick it up.
Have a Clue
Other teams seem to have figured out that to beat Harvard you try hard and maybe throw something new out on the field Rutgers did both, won the game, and sent Harvard packing to what surely will be a motivating half-week of practices before Wednesday's game at New Hampshire.
Rutgers kicked off the scoring with a goal at 7:14 of the first quarter, got another right after winning a face-off with less than a minute left in the same period, a third at 2.35 of the second quarter.
Harvard meanwhile looked to midfielder Meagher for its offensive spark, and he responded with three goals to tie the game midway in the second quarter.
With an unnerving full-field, man-to-man defense that forced Crimson goalic Tim Pendergast into long forays up the field simply to find an outlet pass (the "something new"). Rutgers reasserted control of the ball and tempo that Harvard had momentarily borrowed. But then the bubble burst.
The visitors ran off three goals before the half ended. Jim Tully hit from inside and outside and Rich Mellone picked up an Edmond's mishandle in front of the cage and walked it in.
Two Rutgers man up goals at 2:50 and 3:21 of the third quarter dropped Harvard to an 8-3 deficit. They fated the squad to even more penalties in a frustrating attempt at playing catch up hall. Harvard suffered through four minutes of penalty time in each of the last two quarters.