Sitting in an 8-6 fourth quarter hole in its Ivy League opener against Brown on Saturday night, the Harvard men’s lacrosse team looked at risk of dropping its fourth straight game and putting its preseason aspirations in jeopardy.
That is, until a familiar face took control.
Senior attackman Jeff Cohen reeled off three consecutive goals to give the Crimson its first lead of the game with just under eight minutes to play. After Brown forced sudden-death overtime with a late game-tying goal, Cohen responded with his fifth and most thrilling goal of the game, then proceeded to Tebow—an internet phenomenom ignited by pious NFL quarterback Tim Tebow who routinely drops to one knee and bows his head at the end of every game—as his teammates rushed the field.
“That goal was definitely [the result of] six guys playing together and our entire offense playing well,” Cohen said. “It was a great feed from Kevin and then I did the easiest part,”
The senior netted a goal late in the first quarter but was shut out until the fourth, when his three goals in five minutes swung the game’s momentum. Co-captain Kevin Vaughan fed Cohen in front of the net and he finished from close range to pull Harvard within one.Then, minutes later, he attacked the right side of the crease, spun away from a defender and shot as he fell to tie the game at eight. The go-ahead goal came on a contested mid-range shot which sailed under the stick of Brown’s goalkeeper.
In overtime, Cohen received a pass from Vaughan on the right side of the net with just enough daylight to get a shot off. He didn’t disappoint, as the ball sailed into the back of the net to seal the win for Harvard.
It was the second consecutive five-goal performance for Cohen, who also led the Crimson in an 11-8 loss to No. 10/11 Duke last week. Harvard was doomed by a seven-goal third quarter from Duke in the game. Cohen netted two early goals to help the Crimson go into halftime level, but his three fourth quarter scores weren’t enough to mount a late comeback.
Cohen’s 23 goals this season tie him as the nation’s second leading scorer with Michael Antinozzi of Binghamton at 3.88 goals per game; only Colgate’s Peter Baum has been more prolific with 4.13 goals per contest.
“I think this year he’s really focused in on doing everything he can to help the team succeed,” Harvard head coach Chris Wocjik ’96 said. “He’s been very accurate shooting and very effective with his overall game”
Cohen, who currently has 117 career goals, is Harvard’s fourth all-time leading scorer, an unsurprising fact considering he has led the Crimson in scoring in each of his first three seasons and will likely do the same this year. At his current pace, he will post one of the top five scoring seasons in Harvard history, potentially improving on the 9th-place rank of his sophomore season and the 12th-place rank of his junior year.
“His entire career he’s been an outstanding goal-scorer,” Wocjik said.
Not only has Cohen been a consistent scorer from year to year, he’s only been held under three goals once through six games this season, an 11-4 thumping of Vermont in the season opener. Since then he has tallied two hat-tricks and three five-goal performances, as opposing defenses have struggled to slow him down despite his status as an offensive focal point for the Crimson.
“I think our offense has put him in good positions, freeing him up for good looks,” Wocjik said. “We want to play to our strengths, and on our offense, in terms of finishing, he’s the guy we look to.”
—Staff writer James M. Acer can be reached at email@example.com.