The Crimson and Big Red will do battle for first place in the Ivy League (Gil Talbot).
The Harvard men's lacrosse team will put its unbeaten Ivy League record on the line this weekend as it travels to Ithaca, N.Y., to face No. 2/2 Cornell. Faceoff from Schoellkopf Field is scheduled for 3 p.m. live on the Ivy League Digital Network.
Where We Stand
Harvard and Cornell enter the weekend separated by just a half game in the Ivy League standings. The Big Red is atop the conference with a 3-0 record, with the Crimson coming in second at 2-0. Brown currently sits in third place at 1-1 while Penn, Yale and Princeton are each 1-2. Dartmouth is in seventh place with an 0-2 mark.
The Big Red enters Saturday's contest ranked second in both the Warrior Div. I Media Top 20 and the USILA Div. I Coaches Poll. Cornell boasts an unblemished 9-0 record on the year with a 3-0 mark in the Ivy League, and has already knocked off the likes of No. 9/8 Virginia (12-9), No. 13/15 Penn (17-9) and No. 14/14 Yale (11-9).
The Big Red ranks second in the NCAA in scoring offense at 14.89 goals per game, and is also second with 37.6 ground balls per game. Cornell has allowed opponents to score just 8.56 goals, the 10th lowest rate in the country, while winning 56.1 percent of faceoffs.
Matt Donovan (23g, 14a) leads the squad with 37 points on the year while Dan Lintner (32g, 3a) and Connor Buczek (25g, 10a) have added 35 points apiece. Doug Tesoriero has served as the team's faceoff specialist, winning 55.9 percent of the faceoffs he has taken, while Christian Knight and Brennan Donville have split time in goal. Knights owns a 5-0 record with a .542 save percentage and 8.81 goals against average, with Donville posting a 4-0 mark, .467 save percentage and 8.63 goals against average.
Inside the Series
Cornell owns a 64-23 advantage in the all-time series with Harvard and has won 16 straight meetings between the teams dating back to 1999. The Crimson has played the Big Red tough in recent years, falling 14-12 last year despite leading 12-9 midway through the fourth quarter.
The Crimson will return home Tuesday, April 8 to host Boston University at Harvard Stadium with first faceoff scheduled for 7 p.m. live on the Ivy League Digital Network.
Last Time Out
The Harvard men's lacrosse team got off to a quick start, but could not maintain its momentum as No. 3/3 Duke defeated the Crimson Saturday afternoon, 17-11.
Harvard went in front 2-1 off back-to-back goals by Sean McDonagh and Will Walker, before an 8-1 run put Duke in front for good. The Blue Devils controlled the faceoff X, winning 21-of-31, and picked up 34 ground balls to Harvard's 27.
Will Walker scored four goals to pace the Harvard attack while Devin Dwyer (1g, 4a) and Peter Schwartz (2g, 2a) added five points and four points, respectively. Jake Gambitsky registered eight saves while taking the loss in goal.
Related Link: Men's Lacrosse Falls at No. 3/3 Duke, 17-11
In the Spotlight
Harvard will play three games at Harvard Stadium in front of a national audience on ESPN3. The Crimson's games versus Dartmouth (March 22), Boston University (April 8) and Princeton (April 19) will be simulcast on ESPN3, the WatchESPN App and the Ivy League Digital Network as part of an agreement between ESPN and Harvard Athletics.
Ivy League Digital Network
For the first time ever, all of Harvard's home games and road Ivy League contests will be streamed in HD quality featuring a live scoreboard, new graphics package and play-by-play commentary through the Ivy League Digital Network. Subscribers to the network can watch games both live and On-Demand from their computers, tablets or smart phones, and will have access to live and On-Demand content for all Harvard events throughout the duration of their subscription.
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Light Up The Scoreboard
Harvard ranks 15th in the nation in scoring offense with an average of 11.89 goals per game. The Crimson has posted at least 10 goals seven times this season, and currently boasts the third longest double-digit scoring streak in the country with six straight games scoring 10 or more goals.
Finding the Back of the Net
Will Walker has scored nine goals over the Crimson's last two games, including a career-high five against Dartmouth. Walker's five goals versus the Big Green were the most by a member of the Crimson since Jeff Cohen '12 tallied seven against Michigan on March 31, 2012. Walker leads Harvard with 22 goals this year and is second on the team in points with 24.
Devin Dwyer returned to the Crimson lineup at Georgetown after missing the team's first four games. In his first outing Dwyer set a career-high with five assists, and totaled five points on three goals and two assists in his second contest against Brown. The Crimson's leading scorer in 2013 as a freshman, Dwyer ranks third on the team with 22 points (5g, 17a) despite playing in just five games.
Turning Them Away
Jake Gambitsky has been solid in goal for the Crimson as he ranks third in the Ivy League in both goals per game (10.67) and save percentage (.508). Gambitsky has recorded double-digit saves in six of Harvard's nine contests this season, and has already set a career high with five wins between the pipes.
Harvard's sophomore class has accounted for 61 percent of the Crimson's offense this season. The group has totaled 107 of the team's 176 points, led by Will Walker (22g, 2a), Devin Dwyer (5g, 17a), Sean Mahon (8g, 6a), Ian Ardrey (7g, 4a), Sean McDonagh (7g, 4a) and Brendan Newman (6g, 4a).
Player of the Week
Goalkeeper Jake Gambitsky was named Ivy League Player of the Week March 10 after leading Harvard to a 2-0 week with 30 saves between the pipes. The junior turned away 12 shots en route to a 10-8 victory over Quinnipiac to open the week. The 12 saves stood as his career high until Saturday afternoon when he registered 18 stops in the team's 15-7 win at Georgetown, marking the most saves by a member of the Crimson since Harry Krieger '13 made 19 on March 29, 2011 against UMass. The weekly honor marks the first of Gambitsky's career and the first for the Crimson since Krieger picked up the accolade on March 25 of last season.
Related Link: Gambitsky Named Ivy League Player of the Week
At the X
Gabriel Mendola had a career day at the faceoff X against Quinnipiac, winning 14-of-20 faceoffs while collecting six ground balls. Mendola also won 14-of-18 faceoffs against Brown, and is 62-of-121 at the X this season. The senior has won 54.6 percent of the faceoffs he has taken for his career.
Sophomores Deke Burns and Will Walker had breakout performances against Holy Cross as each turned in a hat trick. Burns totaled five points with four goals and one assist, with Walker registering four points on three goals and one assist. Burns entered the season having scored just five career points (1g, 4a) while Walker contributed 21 points (15g, 6a) as a freshman.
Point Scoring Streaks
Points During Streak
2014 Hat Tricks
Career Hat Tricks
Strength of Schedule
Nine of Harvard's 14 2014 opponents are currently ranked or receiving votes in either the Warrior Div. I Media Top 20 or the USILA Div. I Coaches Poll; Cornell (2/2), Duke (3/3), North Carolina (5/5), UMass (12/11), Penn (13/15), Yale (14/14), Albany (18/16), Princeton (19/17) and Brown (RV/--).
Home Field Advantage
Harvard is 19-9 at home under Chris Wojcik '96, The Frisbie Family Head Coach for Harvard Men's Lacrosse. The Crimson is 8-7 in Harvard Stadium, and boasts an 11-2 record at Soldiers Field Lacrosse Stadium.