The Brown men's lacrosse team may be called the Bears, but after yesterday's 14-9 defeat of Harvard at Ohiri Field, the school might consider a more fitting appellation.
While Harvard (2-5 overall, 1-2 Ivy) was able to capitalize on a number of its offensive opportunities, dominating the second quarter and most of the fourth, the Crimson could not maintain its defensive intensity throughout the game.
And the second-ranked Bears (9-0, 3-0)--led by scoring machines Jay McMahon, Darren Lowe and Andrew Towers--devoured the Crimson cage on key fast breaks. The potent Bears triumvirate clicked for a total of seven goals and four assists in the winning effort, while senior midfielder Sean Staffort tallied an unusally strong three-goal performance.
"Brown is good at finishing off broken situations," Harvard Coach Scott Anderson said. "We created most of those situations, by sliding out too far and playing the ball too hard."
Harvard Tri-Captain Mick Cavuoti continued his scoring surge with three goals and an assist for Harvard.
On defense, junior short-stick midfielder Brian Connelly played exceptionally well. Guarding Lowe with a short-stick, Connelly limited the potentially explosive junior to only one goal and three assists.
Harvard netminder Chris Miller also put in a strong performance in the cage with 16 saves on the afternoon. More than half of Brown's goals came from men stationed just outside the crease.
During the first quarter, Brown smothered the Crimson offense, while unleashing a scoring flurry of its own. An Oliver Marti breakaway goal 2:13 into the game ignited the Bears, who tallied five more goals in the next 12 minutes to take a massive 6-0 lead.
In the second quarter, Cavouti paced the Harvard offense, and the Crimson limited the Bruins to only a few fast break chances. Harvard Tri-Captain Tim Reilly finally broke the Crimson scoring drought, by breaking inside and rifling the ball past Flynn. Cavouti and freshman Mike Porter each connected within the next two minutes to cut the lead to 7-3 at halftime.
At the beginning of the second half, the Crimson made its charge at the Bears. Breaking downfield four minutes into the third frame, Chad Prusmack dished off to defensive midfielder Robb Hirsch, who raced to the Brown cage and fired the ball past goalie Pat Flynn.
One minute later, Cavouti inched into the restraining box from the left side and gunned a low, fast ball into the Bear cage, pushing the Crimson to within two goals.
But as Harvard's offense began to heat up, Brown quickly smothered any hopes of a Crimson upset. Seventeen seconds after Cavouti's tally, McMahon fed freshman midfielder Rob Gutheil on a fast break.
Five minutes and three fast breaks later, Brown pushed the score the score to 12-5 and well out of the Crimson's reach.
The final tally of Brown's third-period assault came with 4:01 left in the session, when Staffort exploded past Crimson long-sticks Dennis Murphy and Mike Tauckus to whip the ball past Miller.
As Harvard started to inch back in the final frame, off tallies by Tri-Captains Reilly and Dan O'Sullivan, the Bears slammed the door shut for good, with tallies from Lowe and Jeff Iserson.
A last-second Cavouti goal, a nifty backwards, over-the-head shot that bounced into the Bear cage, seemed, as the old cliche goes, too little too late. Goals: B--Jay McMahon 3, Sean Staffort 3, Andrew Towers 3, Darren Lowe, Oliver Marti, Rob Gutheil, Neil Munroe, Jeff Iserson; H--Mick Cavuoti 3, Tim Reilly 2, Mike Porter, Paul Faust, Robb Hirsch, Dan O'Sullivan. Assists: B--Darren Lowe 3, Sam Jackson 2, Jay McMahon, Oliver Marti; H--Mick Cavouti. Saves: B--Pat Flynn 17; H--Chris Miller 16.
Goals: B--Jay McMahon 3, Sean Staffort 3, Andrew Towers 3, Darren Lowe, Oliver Marti, Rob Gutheil, Neil Munroe, Jeff Iserson; H--Mick Cavuoti 3, Tim Reilly 2, Mike Porter, Paul Faust, Robb Hirsch, Dan O'Sullivan.
Assists: B--Darren Lowe 3, Sam Jackson 2, Jay McMahon, Oliver Marti; H--Mick Cavouti.
Saves: B--Pat Flynn 17; H--Chris Miller 16.