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Unfortunately for the Harvard men's lacrosse team, the luck of the Irish was in full effect on Saturday afternoon in South Bend, Ind.
Notre Dame sophomore midfielder Steve Bishko netted his third goal of the game with just three seconds left on the clock to cap the Fighting Irish's five goal HARVARD8 NOTRE DAME 9 come-from-behind victory over the Crimson, 9-8.
"It was definitely disappointing to lose like that", sophomore midfielder Roger Buttles said. "We felt we were just as good as they were, we just got a bit worn down at the end".
The Crimson (3-9, 1-4 Ivy) came out strong against the No.13 Fighting Irish, jumping out to an early 2-0 lead behind scores from freshman midfielder Michael Baly and Buttles.
Notre Dame answered back with a goal of its own in the first, but junior attacker Lawson DeVries netted his first of three goals on the afternoon late in the period to give Harvard a 3-1 advantage. The Irish, however, got a score from senior attacker Chris Dusseau with just 20 seconds left in the quarter to trim the lead to 3-2.
In the second quarter, the Irish mounted a charge against the Crimson, but the young Harvard Squad hung tough.
Led by two more goals from DeVries the Crimson the Notre Dame offensive and maintained its one-goal lead to head into the intermission ahead 5-4.
Any fear of the inexperienced Crimson squad coming out of the break flat soon disappeared, as Harvard seemed to take command of the match in the third quarter.
Sophomore attacker Dana Sprong and junior midfielder Geoff Watson netting a goal apiece to open the second half. Buttle's second goal on the afternoon capped the 3-0 Harvard run to start the first five minutes of the quarter.
But despite finding itself down 8-4, Notre Dame did not panic. Demonstrating the poise and experience that had earned them their ranking, the Irish shut down the Crimson and finished the match with five unanswered goals.
Tom Glatzel took a feed from David Ulrich and put it past junior goalkeeper Keith Cynar to start to the rally in the third quarter. The Irish added another before the end of the period, cutting the lead to two.
In the fourth quarter, Notre Dame simply took over. Putting continuous pressure on the Harvard defense, the Irish clawed their way back into the contest.
Todd Ulrich netted the fourth man-up goal on the day for the Irish to cut the Crimson lead to one, at 8-7.
Then Bishko took over.
With 2:31 left in the match, Bishko sent an unassisted blast past Cynar to even the contest at eight goals apiece. Then he scored the game-winner with just three seconds left to give Notre Dame its only lead of the day.
The loss was yet another heartbreaker for this young Crimson team. Having lost many of its leaders to graduation last year, the team has had to learn on the fly this season.
"We've played really tough against some real good teams this year", Buttles said. "We just haven't been able to pull out the wins, and that's a sign of inexperience. But the good news is that next year we will return all of our players, so we should really improve".
As has been the problem several times this season, Harvard's lack of offense at inopportune times plagued it in the loss. For the game, the Irish outshot the Crimson 44-28.
But despite the disappointment, the players said they take away many positives from the narrow defeat at the hands of the nationally-ranked Irish.
In addition to outplaying Notre Dame for three quarters, the Crimson received some outstanding play in goal from Cynar. The junior tallied 18 saves on the afternoon.
The Crimson will now set its sights on Ivy League rival Dartmouth as it heads to New Hampshire next Saturday for its season finale. Despite its recent woes, Buttles said Harvard can close out the season on a high note against the Big Green.
"We're just going to go out there and play our hardest", Buttles said. "We have nothing to lose, and are confident that we can go out with a win".
NOTRE DAME,9-8 at Moose Krause Stadium, Notre Dame,Ind. Harvard 3 2 3 0 - 8 Notre Dam 2 2 2 3 - 9 G:Harvard-DeVries 3, Buttles 2, Baly,Watson Sporng:Notre Dame--Bishko 3, Dusseau 2. Flandian, Glatzel, D. Ulrich, T. Ulrish.A: Harvard--DeVries, Meagher; Notre Dame--D. Ulrich 3, Glatzel 2.S: Harvard--Cynar 18; Notre Dame--Howell 8.
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