Building a reputation for late-game heroics, senior attackman David Lau, with 1:18 left to play and en route to a career-high in points, sealed with a clutch goal a Big Red win over the Harvard Crimson on Saturday, 13-12, in Cambridge.
With the win, the Red (8-2, 4-0 Ivy) clinched at least a share of the conference title. Harvard fell to 6-4 overall and 1-2 in Ivy League play.
Lau was sensational all afternoon, recording a game-high five goals to go along with his three assists. None was bigger, however, than that final fourth-quarter score that put the Red up for good.
“I just wanted to take each possession at a time, maintain poise and capitalize on each opportunity,” Lau said. “I just took it upon myself to make sure we had poise and leadership on the field.”
This wasn’t the first game in which Lau has helped produce a dramatic last-second win for the Red — it was the Syosset, N.Y. native who delivered a clean feed to junior Roy Lang, who then scored the winning goal in the team’s March 26 game against Penn.
Sophomore attackman Steve Mock added three goals, and senior midfielder Jack Dudley and junior attackman Rob Pannell each chipped in two more.
Going into halftime with a 5-3 lead, the game seemed to unravel for the Red in the third period. The Crimson stormed out of the gate with two unassisted goals from Ryan Stevens and Daniel Epp. After a goal by Lau with just under 11 minutes to play, Harvard rallied off four scores in a row in less than three minutes.
“I think they definitely gained some momentum, and they won the ground ball battle all game, but particularly in the third quarter,” Dudley said.
The fourth quarter, however, belonged to the visiting team. Mock opened the final period with two consecutive goals, and then in the final four and a half minutes, Lau netted two more unassisted goals to erase the deficit and clinch the lead.
“It’s a character win for us because it shows that our team’s got some fight in it when we’re down,” Dudley said. “We’re able to crawl back when the going gets tough … in the fourth quarter we started playing like we should the whole game.”
Dudley lauded the efforts of his teammates, but particularly freshman midfielder Mike O’Neill, who had one goal and one assist in the game.
“He played like a senior,” Dudley said.
Although the Red is excited to have clinched at least a share of the Ivy title, the team is looking to continue its conference dominance through the end of the season.
“We’d like to win it by ourselves … we’d like to go undefeated in the Ivy League,” Lau said.
Up next for the Red is what will likely be the team’s biggest challenge of the year: going on the road on Tuesday to face the No. 1 Syracuse Orange in the Carrier Dome.
The Orange (9-0) has dominated college lacrosse this season, while recording an impressive seven wins against ranked opponents. The team’s most recent win was on the road this past Saturday against Princeton, where they held the Tigers to only 5 scores in the 7-5 win.
Stephen Keogh leads the Orange offense with 20 goals on the year and an impressive .385 shooting percentage. JoJo Marasco is first on the team with nine assists, and Tim Desko has 19 points thus far this season
The Orange defense is anchored by its excellent goalkeeper, John Galloway. Galloway goes into the contest against the Red with 7.3 goals against average and 81 saves on the year.
Despite the tall task ahead of them, the Red remains focused and confident.
“I think if we just play together and play as we’re capable of playing we can definitely surprise them,” Lau said. “We’re just going to stick to our game plan, and we’re going to be an excited group.”
Original Author: Holden Steinhauer