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This past weekend was a pretty good one for Tigers. On Saturday, as young Mr. Woods was running away with the Masters, the Harvard men's lacrosse team traveled south to take on the Princeton Tigers, and ran into a buzzsaw in the form of the number 1 team in the nation.
In a game where everything was stacked against the Crimson, and in which everything seemed to go wrong, Harvard--now ranked eighteenth in the nation--was handed a thorough 19-6 defeat.
Doug Crofton, one of few bright spots for Harvard with three of the Crimson's six goals, noted that the team has been "plagued by injuries," which is a handicap Harvard certainly didn't need when facing the most talented team in the country, a team that hasn't lost since last year. Key injuries included defenseman Jeff Psaki's pulled hamstring, and top scorer Mike Ferrucci's injured shoulder.
"The team just came out flat and didn't play well on either offense or defense, and our play was unaggressive all-around," said Max von Zuben, who had two goals for the Crimson.
Princeton jumped out to leads of 8-0 and 13-2, shutting out Harvard until goals by Crofton from Jared Chupaila, and von Zuben from Lou Bevilacqua, nearly halfway into the second quarter.
A number of players commented that Princeton's new, slippery artificial turf, combined with the fact that the Crimson didn't bring the right shoes for that surface was one of the big problems for Harvard. This was a problem the Crimson could have done without against a team that the players describe as almost technically perfect.
All these factors contributed to the complete domination exhibited by the Princeton team.
"I remember looking up at the scoreboard in the third quarter and Princeton was outshooting us 35 to 7," von Zuben said. "We continued to give up short, easy shots, and (Goalie Rob) Lyng never had much of a chance."
Lyng had 16 saves in the losing effort.
"It came down to them playing their style of game, and we had planned well for them but just didn't execute," said Ferrucci.
With the loss, the Crimson fell to 5-3 on the year, but the team's prospects are still bright.
"Our next game against number 10 Umass will be really big for us, as will our game at number eight Notre Dame in a couple of weeks," said Ferrucci.
And if Harvard can run the table against its next six opponents, it should be in a pretty good position to make the NCAA tournament, where it could well get another crack at the Tigers.
"Coach (Scott) Anderson said there was no need to get down and I really don't think we should be discouraged," said Ferrucci. "If we just take it one game at a time we should be able to get into the tournament."
The team believes that they can compete with the Tigers under better circumstances and with better execution of a solid game plan.
G: Princeton--Hubbard (3), Eichelberger (2), Massey (6), Berrier (1), Hess (1), Tucker (1), Katz (1), Sims (1), Buttles (1) Smith (1); Harvard--Crofton (3), von Zuben (2), Ferrucci (1).
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