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Question: What do a Division I lacrosse team’s season and the weather in New England have in common?
Answer: In both cases, when it rains, it pours.
Just days removed from a 16-6 drubbing by then-No. 9 Cornell, the Harvard men’s lacrosse team was soundly defeated once again, this time by a score of 12-3 at the hands of No. 19 Brown on a rain-soaked Jordan Field.
The Crimson (4-4, 1-2 Ivy) must now win all of its remaining league games to have even a shot at Ivy League title after its poor showing against the Bears (4-3, 1-1).
Early on, it appeared that the contest would be a low-scoring affair, as neither team was able to find the back of the net for the first seven minutes of play. However, once Brown got on the board, the proverbial floodgates were opened.
The Bears struck first when senior midfielder Chris Mucciolo beat tri-captain midfielder Doug Kocis and scored with a diving shot. Senior midfielder George Bassett tallied soon after with a high shot through the defense, and junior midfielder Kyle Wailes made it 3-0 less than a minute later when he snuck in behind the defense while the Crimson was playing man-down.
“That’s two games in a row that we’ve gotten down early,” said tri-captain defenseman Brian Wannop. “They’re just bad starts. It’s tough to come back from that.”
The second quarter was no better for Harvard, as Brown once again tallied three times—once on a jaw-dropping behind-the-back shot by sophomore midfielder Alex Buckley—and the Crimson headed into halftime without a single goal to its credit.
As both teams struggled to maintain possession of the ball as well as their footing in the rainy—and occasionally snowy—conditions, Harvard finally got on the board in the third quarter when junior midfielder Jake Samuelson dodged right to beat his defender and bounced a shot past the goalie.
“We play in this stuff a lot, because we practice outdoors,” said Wannop. “We can’t use that as an excuse.”
Two more goals by the Bears in the third quarter ended any thoughts that the Crimson players might possibly have had of a comeback, and Harvard was left with nothing to play for but pride.
The fourth quarter featured what was without question the most impressive effort by the Crimson. Harvard outshot Brown 12-3 in the quarter—and 31-27 in the game—and tallied twice.
After a strong ride led to a ground ball, freshman attackman Zach Widbin scooped it up and moved it to freshman attackman Brooks Scholl. Scholl dodged to his left hand and bounced a shot over the shoulder of the goalie while getting hit, increasing his team-leading goal total to 13.
Just over a minute later, Scholl fired the ball up top to sophomore midfielder Evan Calvert, who found junior midfielder Sean Kane in front of the net. Kane turned and fired the ball past the goalie for the man-up goal.
While a second Ivy loss is a tough pill for the Crimson players to swallow, they have little time to dwell on it, as Harvard travels to Princeton this Saturday to take on the Tigers.
“For all the seniors, Princeton is a team that we’ve never beaten,” noted tri-captain attackman Mike McBride.
A perennial powerhouse, Princeton appears as vulnerable as it has in years, sporting a record of 1-6 while not even receiving any votes in the latest USILA poll.
“Every game from here on is do or die,” said Wannop. “We can still run the table. [Princeton] is a struggling team right now, but it should be a good game. We need to bounce back from these two losses somehow.”
—Staff writer Jonathan P. Hay can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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