Now comes the hard part.
The Harvard men's lacrosse team is getting ready for the largest and most difficult chunk of its 1992 schedule. Starting with today's game at Brown, the Crimson must face four teams ranked in the top 15 in the country over the next ten days.
Harvard (4-4, 1-2 Ivy) is still riding a three-game winning streak and will try to keep things going against the 13th ranked Bears (6-3, 0-2 Ivy) today in Providence, R.I.
With two tough losses in the last week (9-7 to Yale and a 9-8 2OT loss to Princeton), the 13th-ranked Bears come into today's game hungry (desperate?) for a win.
Brown is certainly not lacking in talent. "Brown is going to have a much better offense than any team we've faced so far," senior goalie Chris Miller said.
Miller is right. Behind an explosive attack, Brown has blown by the Crimson the past two years. Last year, Harvard inched within two goals of Brown at Ohiri Field before the Bears exploded for three fast-break goals in five minutes to put the game out of reach, eventually winning 47-9.
Despite the loss of All-Americans Jay McMahon (to graduation) and Andrew Towers (academically ineligible), Brown continues to boast a shockingly powerful attack this year, including the Ivy League's leading scorer, senior Darren Lowe (18 goals, 34 assists).
But Lowe is not along. For support, he has crease-specialist junior Oliver Marti (22 goals, 7 assists) and versatile sophomore Neil Munro (16 goals, 9 assists).
"We have to control their attackmen and stop the fastbreaks," Miller said.
Miller has been a force this season with an overall save percentage of .702, the best in the league. He must continue playing the way he has if the Crimson is to contain the goal-happy Bears.
Anchoring the team along with Miller has been a group of unsung defenders and midfielders, including junior Chad Prusmack, Co-Captain Brian Connolly, senior Mike Tauckus, junior Eric Bentley, senior Dennis Murphy and senior Pete Welch.
Coach Scott Anderson will likely give Connolly the unenvious task of shutting off Lowe. The mather senior has had success in the past playing close defense with a short-stick, but he will need all his energy to keep pace with the Wiley Lowe.
As of late, Harvard's big story has been its offense. After struggling early in the season, the Crimson attack is finally coming into its own.
Sophomore Mike Porter burst out against Adelphi with six goals to lead Harvard to an 11-9 win. That performance also earned him a spot on the league honor roll.
Co-Captain Paul Faust has consistently provided offensive boosts when needed and must continue to do so tomorrow and in the next ten days.
"Our offense has to stay hot," senior Chip Linehan said. "We've got to keep scoring goals the way we have lately."
Against Brown, Harvard cannot afford to rely on a couple of players. If the Crimson is to be effective, the team must get the whole offense in volved.
Although senior midfielder Matt Milkowski is questionable, other players who have suffered from injuries this season, such as freshman attacker Dan Nicklas, are now ready for action.
With some extra bodies returning to the lineup and the new win streak, Harvard certainly has a renewed spirit. But the Crimson still relishes its role as the underdog.
"There's not much pressure on us and that will keep us loose," Linehan said. "It's all a matter of confidence."
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