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The Harvard men’s lacrosse team bounced back from a disappointing week of performances with a win against Colgate on Saturday, breaking its two-game losing streak. The team looked much more confident against the Raiders, building a decisive lead through the first three quarters of play. Despite winning the first faceoff, an area the team has been looking to improve throughout the season, the Raiders drew first blood.
Overall, the team appeared more cohesive than it did against Dartmouth. Similarly to the game against the Big Green, Harvard was able to stretch an early lead. The Crimson offense was more dominant, moving the ball with pace and precision, and the lines were able to pick apart the Colgate defense. Sophomore middies Miles Botkiss and Joe Dowling stood out as two players who were able to make a dynamic impact during the game. Botkiss tallied four goals and Dowling notched three goals and an assist. The two were particularly crucial in the team’s extra man conversions, each notching a goal alongside senior attackman Hayden Cheek on the man-up.
On the defensive end, the team looked solid for the first three quarters as it was able to hold the Raiders to just four goals for the entire forty-five minutes of play. However, lapses came in the last fifteen minutes of play as Harvard seemed to back off with its lead, getting caught ball-watching and sending the recovery slide a step too late. However, it was one of the tightest performances yet, and pairing its ability to shut down Colgate with the offense’s success in hitting the back of the net, was what pushed the team to victory.
“We had a heightened sense of urgency all week in practice which was led by our captain Nick and our seniors, with a focus on consistent play and playing a full game for four quarters,” Dowling commented. “A big emphasis this week will be working towards getting both our offense and defense clicking during the game next Saturday. We haven’t played a full sixty minutes of Harvard lacrosse yet, and that’s the goal.”
Heading into four games worth of Ivy play, the Crimson is set on the idea of stringing together four quarters of consistency. Despite clinching a victory, the team gave up six goals in the fourth quarter, more than the other three quarters combined.
“As a whole team, a big focus for us has been playing a full sixty minutes. Obviously that’s really hard to do, but we showed more glimpses of that against Colgate,” sophomore middie Andrew Perry reflected.
He stressed that, “We have struggled at times to put teams away when we have them on the ropes, which has been due to us making plays that allow them to feed off of and go on runs. Towards the end of the game we had to really buckle down as this started to happen, but it was good to put them away, and it’s a good thing to build off of as we get into a very tough stretch in our schedule.”
This critical, Ancient Eight stretch — consisting of Cornell, Penn, Princeton, and Yale — will make for both offensive and defensive challenges for the Crimson. All four of these teams have been dynamic throughout the season and are ranked in the top 20 according to Inside Lacrosse, besides Yale. In order to win against these higher caliber teams, Harvard must put together fast-paced offensive sets, wins on the faceoff, and lock-down defense in order to have a chance at clinching a slot in the Ivy Tournament.
The Harvard men’s lacrosse team will welcome No. 4 Cornell this Saturday, April 8 at 12:00 p.m. to Jordan Field. The game will also be streamed live on ESPN+.
— Staff writer Katharine Forst can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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