April 4, 2008

Red, Crimson to Face Off at Gillette

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On Saturday morning you won’t see Tom Brady and the Patriots warming-up on the field at Gillette Stadium, but you will see the men’s lacrosse team gearing up to take on an important Ivy League rival, Harvard. The Red travels to Foxboro, Mass. today to compete in the Inaugural New England Lacrosse Classic and make history by playing in the first lacrosse game to ever be held at Gillette Stadium tomorrow afternoon. Despite the high-profile venue, the Red is prepared to handle the pressure.
“I don’t think it’s going to affect our nerves,” said senior Danny Nathan. “We are a pretty calm team and we’ve played in a lot of high pressures situations so I think we are going to be ready for the atmosphere and ready to play Harvard.”
Football loyalties aside, the Red (7-1, 2-0 Ivy) is gearing up to play in its third Ivy League contest of the season. After defeating Penn last weekend in Philadelphia, the squad learned that the key to success is an intense, focused week of practice and preparation. This week, the Red has been working hard to replicate the team work ethic it showed last week prior to playing the Quakers.
“The passion has to be there,” said senior John Glynn. “You can go out to practice and go through the motions and not get anything accomplished. Lately the past few weeks we’ve had practices where we really went after each other and tried to make every little detail count… If we practice hard throughout the week and if we play hard against each other throughout the week then when we get to the game on Saturday then it will be less difficult.”
An important part of preparation is scouting the opponent and the Red knows that although the Crimson lost to the Denver Pioneers last weekend, it is up against a strong and talented home team. Although the opposing squad is adjusting to new head coach, John Tillman, Harvard has a strong offense led by senior Jason Duboe and a solid defense headlined by junior Eric Posner. The Red aims to outsmart and outplay the Crimson in order to get its third Ivy League victory and remain undefeated in the conference. [img_assist|nid=29496|title=Ready, aim, fire|desc=Senior attacker Drew Webb (7) and the men’s lacrosse team will play Harvard in Bill Belichick’s house, Gillette Stadium, on Saturday.|link=node|align=left|width=|height=0]
“They have some of the best athletes, and some of the best talent in the country,” Nathan said. “They play hard and they definitely scrap out there… They are looking to prove themselves in the Ivy League this year.”
The Red has been victorious the last nine times it has faced Harvard and on Saturday it will work to make that a double-digit lead. In addition, Gillette Stadium will be the site for the 2008 NCAA Championships, a fact that will not be forgotten by any of the Red players and which may act as another motivating factor for the squad to clinch a win against the Crimson.
“ We just want to continue to play to the level we are capable of,” Glynn said. “We want to go down there and not make it our last trip because the playoffs are going to be played down there. We are hoping that this will be our first of a couple trips down there.”