After cruising to a pair of 15-6 victories in its first two Ivy contests against Yale and Penn, the No. 9 men’s lacrosse team will play host to Harvard tomorrow at 1 p.m. on Schoellkopf Field.
The Red, which has won the past six games against the Crimson, will look to stay perfect at home this season, as the team has defeated Notre Dame, Binghamton, and Penn on its home turf.
“It helps to be at home,” said sophomore goalie Matt McMonagle. “Harvard’s a good team, and after what happened last year, they’re going to be hungry for a win.”
Last season when the two teams met, the Red needed an overtime goal from then-freshman Brian Clayton to eek out a 9-8 win.
Tomorrow’s game pits Cornell (4-2, 2-0 Ivy) against a Crimson squad that has dropped only two games this season — to Fairfield and Denver. Each loss was by just one goal.
The team’s latest miscue was at Denver, where the Pioneers tallied two goals in the final 35 seconds of the game to earn a 9-8 win this past Saturday.
Before that, the Crimson had won two-straight — a 9-8 victory over Penn and a 9-4 win at Quinnipiac.
In both those games, Harvard won in typical Crimson fashion, using a strong defensive effort to control possession and get timely scores. Overall this season, the Harvard defense has not allowed an opponent to score more than nine goals, while its offense has outshot its opponents, 230-168. The offense takes a league-leading 38.3 shots per game, which is necessary for the team’s success, as the Crimson had a league-low .229 shooting percentage through its first four games this season.
“They’re going to be coming at us the whole game,” McMonagle said. “We just have to execute our game plan.”
Anchoring the defensive unit for Harvard is goalie Evan O’Donnell, who is among the Ivy League leaders in goals against average and save percentage. In front of O’Donnell are defenders Tim Mikula and Josh Donahue, who will attempt to neutralize the Red’s top-4 point scorers — junior Joe Boulukos and seniors Sean Greenhalgh, Kevin Nee, and Justin Redd — who have all scored at least 16 points this season. Tomorrow, Greenhalgh will look to extend his streak of 25 straight games with a goal.
Offensively, Harvard is led by a pair of freshmen — Brooks Scholl, who leads the team with 12 goals and 15 points, and Zach Widbin, who has nine goals and four assists on the season. Both players have been hot as of late, as Scholl tallied five points on four goals and an assist in the win over Quinnipiac, while Widbin has a multi-assist and a multi-goal game in the team’s past two contests, respectively.
“We can’t look at them as freshman,” McMonagle said. “Scholl takes it to the cage hard, so we’re going to have to play good team defense.”
Tomorrow’s game for the Red is key, because it could put the team at 3-0 in the Ivy League going into a stretch-run that includes games against Syracuse, Dartmouth, Princeton, and Brown — all of which are teams that have been ranked in the top-20 in the country this season.
“Every Ivy League game is important,” McMonagle said. “And the most important game is the next one.”
Archived article by Chris Mascaro
Sun Sports Editor