It was a tale of two halves as the Harvard men’s lacrosse team battled Holy Cross in only its second game of the season.
The Crimson (2-0) ended up winning 12-5 as it exploded onto the field after halftime. Late in the second quarter, however, the Crusaders (2-4) had taken a surprising 3-2 lead.
Last Wednesday, Harvard’s game against the University of Massachusetts was canceled due to extreme weather, thus leaving the Crimson with a ten-day break between games.
“The end of last week, because of the weather, we missed some days of practice,” tri-captain defender Brain Wannop said. “It’s definitely affected us.”
The effect was visibly apparent in the first half of yesterday’s game, as Harvard seemed to struggle in the first two periods, with the Crusaders’ offense maintaining possession of the ball for most of the time.
“We came out slow,” junior midfielder Jake Samuelson said. “I think we were taking them a little bit lightly. On offense, we just weren’t keeping possession.”
Harvard scored the first goal of the game at 7:16 in the first period when sophomore midfielder Brian Mahler rushed from the right corner behind the goal to score.
But the Crimson suffered from numerous turnovers as neither the offense nor defense seemed to be able to hold on to the ball for very long.
“In the first half,” Wannop said, “we were a little bit lackadaisical in our possession of the ball. We would get the ball on offense and try to go to goal, and they’d just strip us.”
Holy Cross capitalized upon Harvard’s mistakes early and scored three of the first five goals of the game. They scored their first goal only four minutes after the Crimson to tie the game quickly at 1-1.
Samuelson scored his first of two goals at 14:11 in the second period when the Crusaders took over, scoring two unassisted easy goals at 13:10 and 10:24 in the period to bring them into the lead.
“[To] have a real bad half against a team that we should be killing, it [shows us] that one game doesn’t mean we’re good,” Samuelson said. “We’ve got to keep it going.”
The Crimson mustered a late surge in the period, scoring three goals before the half. Sophomore midfielder Adam Mahfouda scored the first of those at 6:40 to tie the score at three.
Senior attackman and tri-captain Mike McBride managed to connect with the back of the net from the right side with 1:38 left in the period. He was assisted by junior attackman Steve Cohen.
With 49.3 remaining, an unassisted Samuelson drove through the middle of the defense for his second goal—the team’s third straight.
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