No. 20 Men's Lacrosse Looks to Secure Ivy Tourney Bid Saturday Versus No. 14 Princeton
Harvard looks to undefeated at home for the first time since 1990 (Zack Williamson).
The No. 20 Harvard men's lacrosse team can secure a spot in the Ivy League Tournament this weekend as it hosts No. 14 Princeton at Harvard Stadium. A win would put the Crimson into the postseason for the second time since the tournament's inception in 2010, and would put the team in the driver's seat to host.
Rank and File
Harvard entered the USILA Div. I Coaches Poll on April 7 and is currently ranked 20th in the nation. The Crimson is also receiving votes in the Warrior Div. I Media Top 20. Harvard previously appeared in the media poll the week of Feb. 26, 2012 when the media had the squad at No. 15, and in the coaches poll the week of March 5, 2012 when the coaches had the squad ranked No. 20.
Where We Stand
Harvard is currently tied with Cornell atop the Ivy League standings with a 3-1 record, and owns the tiebreaker over the Big Red for the right to host the Ivy League Tournament. A win on Saturday over Princeton would secure the Crimson's place in the postseason, while a loss could drop the team into a three-way tie for second.
Yale and Penn are tied with a 3-2 conference mark for third place while Princeton enters the weekend in fifth at 2-2. Brown (1-3) and Dartmouth (0-4) have already been eliminated from tournament contention.
The Tigers enter Saturday ranked 14th in both the Warrior Div. I Media Top 20 and the USILA Div. I Coaches Poll. Princeton has won three straight games to improve to 7-4 overall, 2-2 in the Ivy League, including a 13-10 victory versus Dartmouth last weekend.
Princeton features the nation's ninth-best attack as the Tigers come into the weekend averaging 12.55 goals per game. The squad also ranks second in man-up offense with conversion rate of 56.8, while its defense has killed 79.5 percent of its penalties to rank No. 1 in the country.
Tom Schreiber ranks fifth in the NCAA with 4.55 points per game, and he will enter Saturday's game having turned in a total of 50 points on 29 goals and 21 assists. He is complemented by Ryan Ambler (20g, 17a) and Mike MacDonald (18g, 19a) who have recorded 37 points apiece. Three different Tigers have started in goal, including Eric Sanschagrin who is 3-0 on the year after starting each of the last three games with a 10.41 goals against average and a .520 save percentage.
Inside the Series
Princeton leads the all-time series with Harvard, 57-22-1, and has won each of the last two meetings between the teams.
Harvard will close out its regular season Saturday, April 26 with a trip to No. 11 Yale. The game is slated for a 1:30 p.m. start and will be televised live on FOX College Sports Central (DirecTV 608).
Last Time Out
The No. 17 Harvard men's lacrosse team saw a two-goal lead slip away Saturday afternoon as No. 11 Penn rallied for an 8-7 overtime win at Franklin Field.
The Quakers scored the equalizer with just 13 seconds remaining in regulation and netted the game winner with 2:38 to play in overtime off the stick of Kevin Brown. The loss was the first for Harvard in Ivy League play, dropping the Crimson into a tie with Cornell for first place in the conference while keeping Penn's Ivy League Tournament hopes alive.
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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Home Field Advantage
Harvard is 20-9 at home under Chris Wojcik '96, The Frisbie Family Head Coach for Harvard Men's Lacrosse, including an unblemished 5-0 record in 2014. The Crimson has previously gone undefeated at home just six times in the program's 127 year history, with the most recent being in 1990 when the team was 6-0 in Cambridge en route to a 12-3 final record, the program's third Ivy League championship and a trip to the NCAA Tournament Quarterfinals.
The Crimson is 9-7 in Harvard Stadium with Wojcik at the helm, and boasts an 11-2 record at Soldiers Field Lacrosse Stadium.
Light Up The Scoreboard
Harvard enters the weekend ranked 15th in the nation in scoring offense with an average of 11.83 goals per game. The Crimson has scored in double-figures a total of nine times this year, including a stretch of eight consecutive games between March 4 and April 8. At the time, Harvard's streak of consecutive games scoring 10 or more goals was the longest in the nation.
Quarterbacking the Offense
Devin Dwyer ranks third on the team with 32 points (8g, 24a) despite missing the first four games of the season. Without Dwyer in the lineup Harvard averaged just 9.75 goals per game while going 2-2, but since his return the squad is averaging 12.84 goals per game with a 5-3 record.
Dwyer's 24 assists on the year are five shy of placing him on Harvard's all-time list, while his 51 career assists are 15 short of the program's career top 10.
Finding the Back of the Net
Will Walker has scored 17 goals over the Crimson's last five 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's team-leading 30 goals scored, meanwhile, are also the most for the Crimson since Cohen tallied 48 in 2012. He is just the 17th player in Harvard history to score at least 30 goals, and is nine shy of entering the program's single-season top 10.
At the X
Gabriel Mendola had a career day at the faceoff X against Cornell, winning 20-of-26 faceoffs while collecting 10 ground balls. Mendola has won 56.2 percent (99-176) of the faceoffs he has taken this season, including an incredible 73.7 percent (56-76) during Ivy League play.
Harvard's sophomore class has accounted for 60 percent of the Crimson's offense this season. The group has totaled 139 of the team's 230 points, led by Will Walker (30g, 3a), Devin Dwyer (8g, 24a), Deke Burns (12g, 5a) and Sean Mahon (9g, 7a).
Turning Them Away
Jake Gambitsky has been solid in goal for the Crimson, allowing just 10.05 goals per game while posting a .500 save percentage. Gambitsky has recorded double-digit saves in seven of Harvard's 12 contests this season, and has allowed fewer than 10 goals eight times.
Players 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, then 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.
Gabriel Mendola picked up his first career Ivy League Player of the Week honor April 7 following his dominating performance at the faceoff X against then-No. 2/2 Cornell. Mendola went a career-high 20-of-26 at the X while collecting 10 ground balls, helping the Crimson control possession it a 14-9 upset victory over the Big Red.
Against the Odds
Harvard knocked off then No. 2/2 Cornell on April 5, 14-9, marking the highest ranked opponent the Crimson has ever beaten and the sixth win versus a ranked opponent under Chris Wojcik '96, The Frisbie Family Head Coach for Harvard Lacrosse.
Shutting Them Down
Harvard's defensive unit held Cornell to just nine goals in the team's upset victory, marking the first time since March 23, 2013 that the Big Red had scored fewer than 10 goals. Cornell's dynamic trio of Dan Lintner, Connor Buczek and Matt Donovan, who entered the game ranked third, 12th and 35th in the nation in goals per game, combined to score just one goal on eight shots.
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
Eight 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; Duke (2/2), North Carolina (6/7), Penn (9/10), Cornell (12/12), Yale (13/11), Princeton (14/14), UMass (20/RV) and Albany (RV/RV).