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Men's Lacrosse Routs Dartmouth to Pick Up First Ivy Win

Sophomore attackman Morgan Cheek's two goals and three assists were part of a balanced Crimson attack that saw ten players find the back of the net.
Sophomore attackman Morgan Cheek's two goals and three assists were part of a balanced Crimson attack that saw ten players find the back of the net. By Ryosuke Takashima
By George Hu, Crimson Staff Writer

The No.14/15 Harvard men’s lacrosse team entered its Saturday afternoon matchup with Dartmouth in a situation very similar to the one it was in when the two squads faced off a year ago. Coming off several underwhelming losses to highly ranked opponents, both the 2015 and 2016 teams knew that they had to take care of the Big Green, one of the weaker sides in the Ivy in recent years, to get back on track.

Last season, the Crimson came out flat in Hanover, N.H., falling in an early 3-1 hole before clawing back, only to lose the game in double overtime.

This year, however, the team knew it could not suffer another letdown, and played with a sense of urgency from the very first whistle. The result was Harvard’s first comprehensive victory this season, as it raced out to a 10-3 lead by halftime and closed out just as impressively to cruise to an 18-8 victory. Dartmouth did not manage to outscore the Crimson in any of the four quarters.

With the strong performance, Harvard (5-4, 1-1 Ivy) is back in the win column for the first time since March 5th, when it was 4-0 and riding high after dispatching then-No. 4/4 Duke. The Crimson had dropped four straight since then, but with the victory Saturday, the squad hopes to put that stretch behind it. The Big Green (1-6, 0-1 Ivy), meanwhile, will still be looking for its first conference victory when it hosts Cornell and Yale in the next two weeks.

For Harvard, success started with getting the midfield more involved on offense. After a midweek showing against BU in which only one goal came from a player not in the attacking unit, the seven Crimson midfielders accounted for a total of eight goals against Dartmouth.

Three of the seven scored their first goal of the season, including sophomores Beau Bayh and Spencer Evans and senior face-off specialist Keegan Michel. For Bayh and Evans, the goals were also their first collegiate tallies.

“It’s not often you have a chance to play the younger guys,” Harvard coach Chris Wojcik ’96 said. “We were fortunate to jump out to a big lead today and give a lot of guys some game time.”

In fact, by the time four quarters had passed, the Crimson had played all four of its goalies, with each making at least one save. Sophomore Robert Shaw played most of the match to earn the win, making 10 saves on 14 shots in the process. Senior Bryan Moore, junior Colin Delea, and freshman Jack Corbett all contributed as well.

In front of them, senior defenseman Bobby Duvjnak set the tone for the defense once again with a strong showing. He entered the day tied for the fourth in the country with 2.25 caused turnovers per game, and added to the impressive number by creating four more takeaway opportunities against the Big Green. No other player on the team had more than one.

“We were really solid as a unit today and credit to my teammates for that,” Duvnjak said. “Early in the season, we were sliding a little too much and letting our opponents earn easy shots close to goal, but we did a better job of preventing those today.”

Harvard also showed improvement in faceoffs, an area of the game that has troubled the squad thus far in the season. While Dartmouth ended with a slight edge, winning 15 to the Crimson’s 14, Harvard won most of the faceoff battles earlier in the game when it was still hanging in the balance.

“Keegan fought and scrapped hard today,” Wojcik. “He really did a good job at the X and that was a big shot in the arm for our team.”

Usual stalwarts in attack, senior Devin Dwyer and sophomore Morgan Cheek, continued to play well and finished with a combined five goals and seven assists. For the Big Green, junior attackman Wiley Osborne paced the offense with two goals, three assists, and a game-high eight shots.

“We did a good job all around today, and it was first time in a while we put everything together in one game,” Duvnjak said. “We needed this one, especially in the Ivy, and now it’s on to the next one.”

–Staff writer George Hu can be reached at

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