You know what they say about the armed services--they don't ask for experience, they give it.
Today, the Harvard men's lacrosse team will get its first taste of NCAA Tournament experience since 1980 when it faces the United States Naval Academy at 3 p.m. at Ohiri Field. Tickets ($4 for adults, $2 for students) can be purchased at the gate.
By some twist of lacrosse logic, the Crimson was given home field advantage for this contest even though Navy--the number seven ranked team in the nation--finished three places higher than Harvard in national polls.
Ohiri has been kind to the Crimson. Harvard (11-3 overall and seeded eighth in the tournament) owns a 8-0 record on its home turf.
Away from its own shores, Navy (7-4 overall and seeded 10th) is 4-1. So much for Harvard's home field advantage.
In other NCAA first-round games today, number-12 seed Air Force (13-3) will face number-five Loyola (11-1) in Loyola, Md. Number-11 seed Cornell (6-5 and last year's NCAA Tournament runner-up) will square-off against the University of Massachusetts (10-2) in Amherst. And number-10 seed Virginia (7-4) will meet number-seven Yale (12-3) in New Haven, Conn.
Meanwhile, the top four seeds--number-one Syracuse (12-0), number-two Johns Hopkins (9-1 and the defending national champion), number-three North Carolina (9-2) and number-four Pennsylvania (10-3 and the Ivy League champion)--sit in waiting and will host first-round winners Sunday.
The winner of the Harvard-Navy showdown will face Syracuse in the Carrier Dome in Syracuse, N.Y.
The Midshipmen match the Crimson well up and down the field. Navy has a great scorer in Mike Herger (22 goals and 25 assists for 47 points). Harvard has a great scorer in Mickey Cavuoti (24-16--40).
Herger has a fine supporting scoring cast in Paul Basile (15-21--36) and Brian Keith (26-7--33). Cavuoti has a pair of stellar co-stars in David Kramer (30-6--36) and Brad Raymond (17-10--27).
Defense has been the Crimson's passport to success all year. When the offense decides to throw down towels, bring out a volleyball and have a beach party, the defense keeps right on working. During an extended offensive holiday against Vermont April 6, Harvard goalie Mike Bergmann had his hands--and his lacrosse stick--full.
The Crimson offense went number for 26 minutes, but Bergmann fought off the Cat attack and helped Harvard to a 10-5 victory. Twice this year, Bergmann has turned in 18-save performances. Those efforts occurred in back-to-back games--an 8-3 victory over Adelphi (April 16) and a 9-6 loss to Brown (April 20).
Bergmann, a first-team All-Star selection, is the owner of a 5.75 goals-against average and a .705 save percentage. On the other end of the field, Navy will put Joe Donnelly (6.22 g.a.a. and a .635 save percentage) in the net.
Bergmann gets help from All-Ivy defenseman Bill Pennoyer and Rich van den Broek, who returned to the line-up last Saturday after injuries kept him out for most of the season.
If the Crimson holds Navy to under six goals--a realistic possiblity with Harvard's Tri-Captains (Bergmann, Pennoyer and van den Broek) acting as bouncers outside the Crimson goal--it should pull out a victory.
NCAA Tournament Hurts EAIAW Field Hockey TiltThe EAIAW field hockey championships are not what they used to be. This year only three teams competed, and top-seeded
Coming & GoingTHURSDAY MAY 6 Baseball 4:00 Harvard J.V. vs. Mass. Bay at Soldiers Field Golf Harvard at Providence (NCAA Qualifying Round,
NIT Offers Postseason Hope for HarvardThe Penn juggernaut is nearing in on a second straight Ivy League title and the automatic berth in the NCAA
Harvard Men's Basketball's 38% Chance
Closer Than EverHarvard has proven that it can remain true to its principles while also managing to produce a dedicated and winning athletic team.
Sunday's League Championship Game a Must-Win for Men's Lacrosse