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Down 4-1 to Holy Cross with 14:05 remaining in the second period of Tuesday afternoon’s game at Soldiers Field Stadium, the Harvard men’s lacrosse team knew it needed to change things up offensively.
The squad decided to run, to make the game more fast-paced. And as it did, its number on the scoreboard began to soar. Nine unanswered goals later, the Crimson (4-1) was looking at a 10-4 victory.
“It was definitely important for us to come out and get a win,” junior attackman Jeff Cohen said. “I think Holy Cross played a tough game. They came in pretty fired up.”
After Cohen took a pass from sophomore Jack Doyle and fired it past Crusader goalie Mike Fisher to open the day's scoring 6:30 into the first quarter, Holy Cross (0-6) came roaring back with three consecutive goals in the final 3:37 of the opening period.
Sophomore midfielder John Hannan, junior midfielder Andrew Morici, and sophomore attackman James Kennedy contributed the scores for the Crusaders. Senior attackman Colin Flood added another goal just 55 seconds into the second to make it 4-1, leaving Harvard utterly confounded.
“They ran a zone, which kind of threw us a bit to start,” Cohen said. “Once we settled down, we were able to work through that to get the shots we wanted.”
Cohen cut the Holy Cross lead to 4-2 with a man-up score after Morici was penalized for being offsides. Sophomore midfielder Alex White added an unassisted goal under a minute later to bring the Crimson within 4-3.
But neither goalie would allow another score for the final 11:09 of the period, with both Fisher and Harvard sophomore Harry Krieger making a series of impressive saves.
“[Fisher] played a good game,” senior midfielder Andrew Parchman said. “A lot of our shots ended up hitting the goalie and weren’t dropping.”
In the second half, the Crimson defense came out aggressively and did not let up, shutting out the Crusader offense and allowing only 11 shots.
“Our defense and goalie played an amazing game and really kept us in it,” Parchman said.
The Harvard offense, meanwhile, continued to attack, firing 26 shots in the half. Junior defenseman Daniel DiMaria tied the game just 22 seconds into the third period by beating Fisher, and junior co-captain Kevin Vaughan put the Crimson ahead with a score two minutes later.
The Holy Cross defense contained Harvard for ten minutes, until Vaughan added his second goal with 2:50 remaining in the period. But the Crimson offense went on a late run, with Cohen adding his third score 44 seconds after Vaughan’s.
Freshman midfielder Daniel Eipp then tallied one with 30 seconds remaining in the period, and Cohen beat Fisher again with just 10 seconds left in the quarter to put Harvard up, 9-4, heading into the fourth.
“We really got out in transition a little bit, which is important against a team in a zone,” Cohen said. “We shot smart and got the shots we wanted.”
Both defenses were strong in the final period, with the only goal being scored by Crimson co-captain Dean Gibbons, who fired home his 12th of the year with seven minutes remaining in the game to give Harvard a 10-4 lead.
The Crusader offense was unable to bring it any closer than that the rest of the way. Fisher finished with 24 saves for Holy Cross, while Krieger had 11 for the Crimson.
“Harry’s gotten better each game,” Cohen said. “He’s really become a leader on our 'D,' which is obviously important for a goalie.”
Harvard finished with a large advantage in shots (45-29), ground balls (32-23), and face-offs won (13-5). Parchman was the victor in seven of those face-offs, while DiMaria paced the team with five ground balls. The Crimson only had 13 turnovers, compared to 20 for the Crusaders.
Cohen led Harvard with four goals, pushing him past Gibbons for the team lead with 13. Seven individual players had an assist for the Crimson.
After the game, Harvard was already looking ahead to its first Ancient Eight contest of the season, which will take place Saturday at Brown.
“We’re glad to get the win,” Parchman said. “We’re 4-1 going into Ivy League play. It’s a great position to be in.”
—Staff writer Scott A. Sherman can be reached at email@example.com.
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