For the third consecutive Ivy League game, the Harvard men’s lacrosse team (7-5, 1-3 Ivy) was competitive till the end. And for the third consecutive Ivy League game, it walked off the field heartbroken.
Three weeks ago, it was a 9-8 loss to Dartmouth after the Big Green beat the Crimson at the buzzer. Last week, it was a blown lead in the final moments of a 13-12 defeat to No. 5 Cornell.
But Saturday’s contest against Penn (6-4, 3-2) might have very well been the worst of those one-goal losses.
After staging a ferocious rally to tie the game with two goals in the final two minutes, the Crimson fell in double overtime to the No. 15 Quakers, 7-6.
With 30 seconds left in the second sudden-death period, Penn midfielder Drew Belinsky came around the net from the right, spun, and beat Harvard sophomore goalie Harry Krieger for the winner, leaving the Crimson players holding their heads in despair as the Quakers mobbed the freshman in front of their goal.
“I’m proud of our kids, but we put ourselves in a hole,” Harvard coach Chris Wojcik ’96 said. “Unfortunately, we couldn’t get the lead, couldn’t get the momentum...we didn’t make the plays we had to.”
The low-scoring match was dominated by strong defense on both sides that began early in the contest.
The Quakers’ only goal in the opening period came with 1:07 remaining, when midfielder Al Kohart reset up top, sprinted left in a curl, and fired on the run to beat Krieger. The Harvard defense was strong throughout the quarter, but Penn’s backs were better, shutting out the Crimson attack.
“We just didn’t get in a rhythm,” junior co-captain Kevin Vaughan said. “We didn’t get good shots off on the first few possessions, and they’ve got a good defense. You’ve got to hand it to them.”
The Quakers took a 2-0 lead early in the second after Crimson sophomore Peter Berg was called for pushing. Penn attack Corey Winkoff took advantage of the man-up opportunity, getting Krieger to fall for a high fake before putting it past him low for the score.
Harvard finally got on the board with 3:32 left in the quarter, when sophomore Alex White fired a shot past Quaker goalie Brian Feeney to cut the Penn lead in half.
Neither team was able to score for the remainder of the period, as the Quakers had a man-up possession in the final minute but was unable to get a shot off.
“I’m really proud of our defensive effort,” Wojcik said. “We really locked them down.”
The scoring began to pick up in the third.
At 13:09, co-captain Dean Gibbons fired a cross-field pass to Vaughan on the right side, and Vaughan went low with a side-arm shot to beat Feeney and tie the game at 2-2.