The final whistle sounded at the end of regulation, but the score remained knotted at 11. The No. 15/16 Harvard men’s lacrosse team entered overtime with Dartmouth after an intense game of back and forth between the Ivy League rivals. Despite five combined shots by the Crimson and Big Green in the extra period, neither team could break the deadlock. Another overtime was needed, but the stalemate wouldn’t last much longer—99 seconds into the second overtime period, Dartmouth freshman midfielder Jack Korzelius netted the game winner to help the Big Green clinch a 12-11 upset on its home turf.
The result was disappointing for Harvard (4-4, 0-2 Ivy), who finished its spring break slate winless after back-to-back defeats against Brown and North Carolina heading into the game. On the other hand, Dartmouth (2-3, 1-0) was fresh off a two-week break without any games. The effect was evident throughout, with the Big Green dominating at the X, securing 22 of the 27 faceoffs and claiming a 39-34 advantage in groundballs while converting three of four man-up opportunities and holding Harvard’s man advantage scoreless on all six of its chances.
“We were severely out-played in the faceoffs…and our man-ups,” said Harvard coach Chris Wojcik ’96. “I think that wasn’t the only reason, but the combination of those two areas of the game [was] the biggest difference maker.”
The contest began with a rocky start for the Crimson, as Dartmouth opened the scoring less than two minutes into the game with three goals in 36 seconds.
“I think we just came out flat,” said coach Wojcik. “We were down three-nothing really quickly, and in Ivy League games you can’t come out that way.”
After a back and forth second quarter, the Crimson trailed 3-5 at halftime, but Harvard fought back, with junior midfielder Ian Ardrey and junior attackman Devin Dwyer opening the third quarter with back-to-back goals to even the score at 5-5. However, Dartmouth responded with a run of its own, tallying three straight goals to seize an 8-5 lead. After a goal by freshman midfielder Sean Coleman halted the Big Green run, the fourth quarter began with Dartmouth holding on to a two-goal lead.
The teams traded goals for most of the fourth quarter, and the Big Green maintained an 11-9 lead heading into the final minutes of the game. With just under three minutes to play, junior midfielder Ian Ardrey took the game into his own hands, scoring unassisted to pull the Crimson within one.
Despite winning the ensuing face-off, Dartmouth failed to maintain possession and run out of the clock, turning the ball over twice to give Harvard possession with under a minute remaining. After a timeout by the Crimson, Ardrey came to the rescue, all but ensuring overtime by netting his fourth goal of the game with only 14 seconds of play left. The junior matched his career-high with four goals on the day while also achieving a career-best with five points. However, Ardrey’s heroics were not enough to save the Crimson from its inability to win faceoffs and convert on man-up chances.
Junior goalkeeper Bryan Moore made 14 saves, giving him double-digit saves in each of his last three starts. Harvard has struggled to protect its netminders this season, as injuries to standout junior defensemen Stephen Jahelka and Bobby Duvnjak have forced Wojcik and his staff to field a makeshift unit with a number of players playing out of position at close defense.
Although this loss stings for the Crimson, it has four games left in conference play and still has the opportunity to put itself in position for a postseason run.
“The season is still very long and under our control. There are lots of little things we learned today as individuals,” Moore said. “I don’t think anyone is freaking out at this point. The rest of the season is a test to see how well we can improve in practice; the wins will take care of themselves. If we work to continue to build trust and cohesion across the field, we will have success.”
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