No. 12 Men's Lacrosse Set to Host No. 15 Yale in Ivy League Tournament Semifinal
|2014 Ivy League Tournament
May 2-4 at Harvard Stadium
TICKETS | PARKING | DIRECTIONS
Friday, May 2
Harvard will look to advance to the Ivy League Tournament final for the second time (OAC).
One week after defeating Yale for a share of its first conference title in 24 years, the No. 12 Harvard men's lacrosse team and the 15th-ranked Bulldogs will meet again as the Ivy League Tournament gets underway at Harvard Stadium. Faceoff between the Crimson and Eli in the second of two semifinal games is slated for 8 p.m. Friday, May 2 live on ESPN3.
No. 11 Cornell and No. 10 Penn will square off in the first semifinal at 5 p.m. The winner of each semifinal game will play on Sunday, May 4 at 12 p.m. live on ESPNU with the winner earning the Ivy League automatic bid to the NCAA tournament.
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How We Got Here
Harvard and Cornell each earned a share of the Ivy League Championship after finishing the regular season with identical 5-1 conference marks. By virtue of its victory over the Big Red, however, the Crimson has earned the top seed and the right to host this weekend's Ivy League Tournament.
Cornell will enter play Friday seeded second, with Penn and Yale seeded third and fourth, respectively. The Quakers went 4-2 against the Ancient Eight, handing Harvard its lone loss, while Yale finished 3-3.
About the Ivy League Tournament
The Ivy League Tournament was first put into place in 2010 to determine the conference's automatic qualifier to the NCAA Men's Lacrosse Championship. Since its inception, Cornell and Yale have appeared in all five tournaments, with Penn making its third appearance in 2014 and Harvard its second. Yale has won each of the last two tournaments, defeating Princeton on both occasions, with Cornell winning its first tournament title in 2011.
Harvard in the Ivy League Tournament
2014 will mark Harvard's second appearance in the Ivy League Tournament after reaching the final in 2011. That year the Crimson upset Penn to advance to the title game, 12-8, before falling to Cornell, 15-6.
Senior Daniel Eipp scored one goal and one assist in the win over Penn as a freshman, with classmate Peter Schwartz adding a goal versus the Quakers. Gabriel Mendola, Brian O'Toole, Joe Petrucci, Eric Slingerland and Carl Zimmerman also saw game action in the tournament as freshmen.
NCAA Men's Lacrosse Championship
The 2014 NCAA Men's Lacrosse Championship will feature a 16-team bracket with two play-in games, which will take place Wednesday, May 7 at campus sites. First round action will get underway May 10-11, with the quarterfinals to be held May 17 at James M. Shuart Stadium in Hempstead, N.Y., and May 18 at Delaware Stadium in Newark, Del. The Final Four is scheduled for May 24-26 at M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore, Md.
The Division I Selection Show will air Sunday, May 4 at 9 p.m. on ESPNU.
Rank and File
Harvard is currently ranked 12th in both the USILA Div. I Coaches Poll and the Warrior Div. I Media Top 20. The Crimson had been receiving votes in the polls for much of the season before first entering the Coaches Poll April 7. This marks the highest ranking that Harvard has received since reaching No. 11 on March 13, 2010.
Record: 9-4, 3-3 Ivy League
USILA Div. I Coaches Poll: 15
Warrior Div. I Media Top 20: 16
Series Record: Yale leads, 60-36
Last Meeting: W, 11-10 (April 26, 2014)
Scouting Report: Yale ranks 12th in the NCAA in scoring defense, allowing just 8.46 goals per game. Eric Natale's 8.34 goals against average between the pipes is good for ninth in the country as he has posted a .524 save percentage.
The Bulldogs average 10.62 goals per game at the offensive end led by Conrad Oberbeck, who has netted 35 goals and 12 assists for 47 points. Brandon Mangan has contributed 43 points (22, 21a) with Shane Thornton ranking third on the team with 22 points (8g, 14a). At the X, Dylan Levings has won 58.2 percent (170-292) of the faceoffs he has taken, which is the 17th-best percentage in the NCAA.
Inside the Series: Yale leads the all-time series with Harvard, 60-36, despite the Crimson taking an 11-10 decision one week ago in New Haven. The last five meetings between the teams have been decided by a total of just nine goals, including a pair of one-goal affairs each of the last two years. Friday's game will mark the first time Harvard and Yale have met in the postseason.
Record: 11-3, 5-1 Ivy League
USILA Div. I Coaches Poll: 11
Warrior Div. I Media Top 20: 11
Series Record: Cornell leads, 64-25
Last Meeting: W, 14-9 (April 5, 2014)
Scouting Report: Cornell boasts one of the most potent offenses in the nation, averaging 13.36 goals per game which ranks fourth in the NCAA. Matt Donovan leads the attack with 48 points (29g, 19a), with Dan Lintner's 47 points (43g, 4a) coming in a close second. Connor Buczek has added 44 points (28g, 16a) while John Hogan has chipped in 38 (16g, 22a).
Christian Knight sports a 7-3 record in goal with a 10.08 goals against average and a .547 save percentage which ranks 17th in the nation. Doug Tesoriero, who is the Big Red's all-time leader in faceoff wins, has won 53.7 percent (182-339) of the faceoffs he has taken this year.
Inside the Series: Harvard defeated Cornell when the team's first met this season in Ithaca, 14-9, marking the Crimson's first victory over the Big Red since 1998. Cornell leads the overall series, 64-25, including a 15-6 triumph in the 2011 Ivy League Tournament final, the only meeting between the teams in the postseason.
Record: 9-3, 4-2 Ivy League
USILA Div. I Coaches Poll: 10
Warrior Div. I Media Top 20: 10
Series Record: Harvard leads, 44-38-2
Last Meeting: L, 8-7 (April 12, 2014)
Scouting Report: Penn has allowed just 9.00 goals per game this season and ranks 18th in the NCAA in scoring defense. Brian Feeney has played nearly every minute in goal for the Quakers, with his 9.00 goals against average ranking 17th in the nation while his .552 save percentage ranks 14th.
Penn has averaged 10.83 goals per game at the offensive end. Nick Doktor leads the balanced attack with 32 points (18g, 14a), with Zack Losco (17g, 12a) and Isaac Bock (17g, 9a) adding 29 points and 26 points, respectively. Danny Feeney owns a 49.1 win percentage at the X as the team's faceoff specialist.
Inside the Series: Penn rallied from a 7-5 deficit to hand Harvard its only loss in conference play this season in overtime, 8-7. The score was identical to last year's meeting between the teams when Harvard pulled off the 8-7 victory in overtime in Cambridge. The Crimson own a 44-38-2 edge in the all-time series, including a 12-8 win in the 2011 Ivy League Tournament, the only meeting between the teams in the postseason.
Last Time Out
The No. 16 Harvard men's lacrosse team did what no other Crimson team had done in 24 years on Saturday, as it clinched the program's first Ivy League championship since 1990 with an 11-10 win at No. 13 Yale.
Harvard appeared to have the advantage in the second half as it took a 9-6 lead, but Yale fought back to tie the game at 9-9 entering the fourth quarter. Daniel Eipp and Sean McDonagh teamed up for back-to-back scores to regain an 11-9 margin, and the defense stood tall down the stretch to prevent a comeback.
Bringing Home The Hardware
Harvard earned a share of the 2014 Ivy League Championship, the fourth Ancient Eight title in program history and first in 24 years. The Crimson finished the regular season off with a 9-5 overall record and 5-1 mark in conference, matching Cornell for the top spot in the Ivy League.
The Crimson last won the conference in 1990 under former head coach Scott Anderson, going 12-3 overall and 5-1 against the Ivies en route to the NCAA tournament quarterfinals. Harvard also won the conference in 1980 under current Nichols Family Director of Athletics Bob Scalise, and earned the program's first Ancient Eight title in 1964 under Bruce Munro.
Harvard has won a total of 12 Ivy League Championships in 2013-14; Men's Basketball, Men's Fencing, Football, Women's Golf, Women's Ice Hockey, Men's Lacrosse, Women's Soccer, Men's Squash, Women's Squash, Men's Swimming and Diving, Women's Swimming and Diving, Women's Indoor Track and Field.
Harvard's nine wins this season are the most for the team since 2011 (10-6). Should the Crimson defeat Yale on Friday, it would mark the 16th time in program history that the team has won at least 10 games in a season.
Harvard's 5-1 record against the Ivy League, meanwhile, matches the best conference record in program history. Harvard has now gone 5-1 in conference play six times, but never 6-0.
Home Field Advantage
Harvard is 21-9 at home under Chris Wojcik '96, The Frisbie Family Head Coach for Harvard Men's Lacrosse, including an unblemished 6-0 record in 2014. The Crimson has previously gone undefeated at home just six times in the program's 125 year history, with the most recent being in 1990 when the team was 6-0 in Cambridge en route to a 12-3 overall record, the program's third Ivy League championship and a trip to the NCAA Tournament Quarterfinals.
The Crimson is 10-7 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 16th in the nation in scoring offense with an average of 11.57 goals per game. The Crimson has scored in double-figures a total of 10 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.
Both Peter Schwartz (21g, 20a) and Devin Dwyer (10g, 30a) have contributed more than 40 points this season, and Will Walker (32g, 3a) could soon go over the 40-point plateau as well. Only once under Chris Wojcik '96, The Frisbie Family Head Coach for Harvard Men's Lacrosse, has Harvard had more than one individual reach 40 points.
Quarterbacking the Offense
Devin Dwyer ranks second on the team with 40 points (10g, 30) despite missing the first four games of the season due to injury. Harvard averaged just 9.75 goals per game while going 2-2 without Dwyer in the lineup, but since his return the squad is averaging 12.30 goals per game with a 7-3 record.
Dwyer's 30 assists on the year are the ninth most in program history, while his 57 career assists are nine shy of the program's career top 10. He set a new career-high with six helpers at Yale, the most by an Ivy-Leaguer this season.
Finding the Back of the Net
Will Walker has scored 19 goals over the Crimson's last seven 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 32 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 in a season, and with his next goal he will tie Chris Wojcik '96, The Frisbie Family Head Coach for Harvard Men's Lacrosse, for 15th place on the Crimson's single-season list.
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 55.2 percent (107-194) of the faceoffs he has taken this season, including an incredible 68.1 percent (64-94) during Ivy League play.
Austin Williams stepped into the role of faceoff specialist for the team's victory over Princeton, winning 13-of-19 at the X to go with eight ground balls. Williams has won 50.5 percent (46-91) of the faceoffs he has taken on the year.
Harvard's sophomore class has accounted for 61 percent of the Crimson's offense this season. The group has totaled 163 of the team's 263 points, led by Devin Dwyer (10g, 30a), Will Walker (32g, 3a), Deke Burns (14g, 6a) and Sean Mahon (10g, 8a).
Turning Them Away
Jake Gambitsky has been solid in goal for the Crimson, allowing just 9.90 goals per game while posting a .511 save percentage. Gambitsky has recorded double-digit saves in nine of Harvard's 14 contests this season, including each of the last three outings, while allowing fewer than 10 goals nine times.
Brian Fischer has proven to be one of the top long stick midfielders in the nation this season, as evidenced by his lockdown performances against Cornell and Princeton. Fischer was responsible for marking the Big Red's Connor Buczek, an All-American a year ago, in Harvard's 14-9 win, and held Buczek scoreless for the first time this season. Against the Tigers, Fischer defended three-time All-American Tom Schreiber and kept Schreiber, who entered the game with 199 career points, without a point for just the second time in his career.
Players of the Week
Four different members of the Crimson were named Ivy League Player of the Week this season, marking the most player of the week awards in program history. Each of Harvard's honorees received the accolade for the first time in their career.
Related Links: Gambitsky Named Ivy League Player of the Week | Mendola Earns Ivy League Player of the Week Honors | Fischer Tabbed Ivy League Player of the Week | Dwyer Picks Up Ivy League Player of the Week Plaudits
Against the Odds
Harvard knocked off then-No. 2 Cornell on April 5, 14-9, marking the highest ranked opponent the Crimson has ever beaten. Harvard also picked up victories over then-No. 14 Princeton and then-No. 13 Yale, improving the team to 3-5 against ranked foes in 2014. Harvard boasts eight wins overall versus ranked opponents under Chris Wojcik '96, The Frisbie Family Head Coach for Harvard Men's 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 in a game. 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, meanwhile, combined to score just one goal on eight shots.
The Crimson has allowed just 9.78 goals per game and has held nine of 14 opponents to fewer than 10 goals, including four of its last five.
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; Duke (3/4), North Carolina (9/9), Penn (10/10), Cornell (11/11), Yale (16/15), Albany (18/18), Princeton (RV/RV), Brown (RV/RV) and UMass (--/RV).
All five of Harvard's losses have come on the road to a ranked opponent; Duke, North Carolina, Penn, Albany and UMass.