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Last season’s road woes reappeared for the Harvard men’s lacrosse team, which fell, 12-7, to No. 7 Massachusetts on Saturday afternoon in Amherst, Mass.
Last spring’s squad won just one game outside of Jordan Field, but the team sees this loss as hardly a pattern, given last weekend’s victory over Stony Brook in New York and the fact that the Minutemen had not fallen at home since March 2004.
“It’s a tough place to win on the road,” captain Jake Samuelson said. “I wouldn’t say this game is a sign we’re in huge trouble. I’m not too worried about it.”
The Crimson (1-1) took an early lead in the game, scoring its first goal just 1:14 into the first quarter. Junior Evan Calvert, who notched his fifth goal of the young season, was assisted by senior Peter Doyle on the score.
Junior Greg Cohen added a second and third goal to give Harvard a 3-0 lead with 9:03 left in the first period. Cohen led the team with four goals on the day.
“He was aggressive all day, taking it to the goal,” Samuelson said. “He had one of the better defenders on him, and instead of accepting that, he really took the initiative and was going hard all day.”
But the lead was brief. By the end of the quarter, Massachusetts (3-0) pulled to within one, and just three minutes into the second quarter, the Minutemen tied the game up.
Massachusetts senior Sean Morris helped his team to another two goals in the period, finishing with two goals and five assists.
“[Morris] had a really good feeding day,” Crimson captain Tom Mikula said. “A player of that caliber you can’t really expect to shut down, but I feel like we could’ve done a bit better in that department.”
Harvard managed one last goal to go into halftime down, 5-4, when freshman goalie Joe Pike made a save and a long pass down the field to junior Brian Mahler, who flipped it to sophomore Brooks Scholl for the score.
After splitting time with sophomore goalie Evan O’Donnell last weekend, Pike made 11 saves in his first start and complete game.
“Evan had been sick all week,” Samuelson said. “That’s the advantage of having two strong goalies. I think most of the goals [Pike] did let in were almost unstoppable. For his first full game, it was definitely a very good game.”
Things continued to go right for Harvard to start the second half.
Just 54 seconds into the period, Cohen scored his third goal on an assist from Evan Calvert to tie the game at five.
But again the lead was short-lived.
Massachusetts began to pull away early in the fourth, rattling off four consecutive goals to take a 9-5 lead.
“I think we were playing a lot of defense most of the game,” Samuelson said. “We didn’t have too much possession, and the defense can only hold up for so long before they start to get a bit fatigued.”
But the Crimson was not finished.
Fourteen seconds after the ninth Minutemen goal, senior Sean added his first score of the game, and Cohen soon picked up his fourth goal to bring Harvard to within two.
But again, a Massachusetts run plagued the Crimson.
Scoring three goals in under four minutes, the Minutemen took a 12-7 lead with 9:01 left in regulation and never looked back.
“We knew we had to give a hundred percent the whole way,” Mikula said. “I think the fourth quarter we had a lapse in energy. That three-goal run really did us in.”
Harvard will have a chance to redeem itself tomorrow at Holy Cross, which has lost its first four games of the season.
“To see positive results we are going to need to play four full quarters,” Mikula said. “We need to bounce back and prove ourselves in the lacrosse community, and I think we can really do that against Holy Cross.”
—Staff writer Madeline I. Shapiro can be reached at email@example.com.
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