DURHAM, N.C.—Harvard University used a four-goal run late in the third quarter to upset fifth-ranked Duke University, 9-6, in men’s lacrosse action this afternoon at Koskinen Stadium. The Blue Devils were led by Steve Schoeffel and Brad Ross with two goals apiece.
Duke’s six goals are the fewest by the Blue Devils since an 11-5 loss to Maryland on May 1, 2005. It also marks just the fourth time Duke has lost by more than one goal since the beginning of the 2005 campaign. Duke (2-1) is now 30-2 all-time in the month of February.
“I give Harvard a lot of credit, they were very well prepared and I thought they played great,” head coach John Danowski said. “I’m disappointed with our inability to clear the ball in the first half. Offensively I thought we were very timid in the first half and the second half I thought we picked it up and played better, but obviously not well enough.”
Senior Ned Crotty registered a goal and an assist, while Max Quinzani kept his scoring streak alive with one score. The Crimson (1-0) was led by rookie Jeff Cohen with three goals and an assist. Harvard got a goal from six different players and four players tallied at least two points in the win.
The Harvard defense kept the Blue Devils out of sync, allowing Duke just 29 shots for the game, including just seven in the first half.
“[We are] a young team and it’s a new team with a lot of different people in key roles,” Danowski said. “They’ve got to learn to play in these game situations. It’s going to take some time. It’s so early in the season. We’ve practiced for a month, played three games, we’re learning about ourselves.”
Duke opened the scoring 3:04 into the first quarter when Schoeffel ran past the Harvard defenseman and sent a low shot into the corner for the 1-0 advantage. That would be all the scoring in the first half as the Blue Devils went into the first break with a 1-0 lead.
The Crimson came out of the break and capitalized on a couple of man-up opportunities to take a 3-1 lead after two periods. Cohen started the scoring with an even-man score at 11:09 and added another tally just 28 seconds later on a man-up situation. Travis Burr and Nick Sapia connected with 5:39 left in the quarter to give the Crimson the two-goal lead at the break.
“We came out and started the game tight,” Crotty said. “We weren’t playing our game. We couldn’t clear the ball, we couldn’t possess the ball, so right away we were putting so much pressure on our defense and making them way too hard. Because of that we gave them more opportunities than we would have liked.”
Duke came out of the locker room and tied the score with goals from Ross and Quinzani. After a save from goalie Rob Schroeder, the Blue Devils cleared the ball. Zach Howell took the ball on the left side and fed Ross trailing at the point. Ross took the opening and rifled his shot from nearly 20 yards out low into the corner.
Quinzani tied the game five minutes later when he dodged his defender on the right side of the cage and dumped the ball behind Joe Pike.
It was all Harvard in the final five minutes of the session as it scored four unanswered, including one in the final nine seconds to take its largest lead of the game, 7-3.
Needing to get on the board, Crotty got the ball behind the cage and beat his defenseman to the left pipe and snuck in the wraparound shot to make it 7-4 at the 13:24 mark. Harvard responded three minutes later with a Jesse Fehr score to make it a four-goal game again.
The Blue Devils pushed the pace in final 10 minutes, but the Crimson never let Duke get into an offensive rhythm. Ross got a quick tally after a Harvard turnover to make it 8-5 and Schoeffel fired home a shot with 2:05 left on the clock to make things interesting at 8-6.
Duke was able to grab possession over the next couple minutes, but could not find the back of the net. Harvard sealed the victory when a long outlet pass from Pike found Jeff Wannop in front of the net for the ninth goal.
Harvard outshot Duke 45-29, including a 24-7 advantage in the first half. The Crimson controlled the battle at the X early and won 10-of-17 restarts for the game. The ground balls were even at 27 apiece, while Harvard went 2-4 on man-up opportunities and Duke went 0-for-1.
Schroeder picked up 10 saves, while Pike made nine stops for the Crimson.
“In the past we haven’t had to face a problem like this early in the season,” Crotty said. “We want to take good things from a loss,” Crotty said. “We have to learn to come out and play our game, come out relaxed and loose.”
Duke returns to action in the annual Konica/Minolta Face-Off Classic against ACC rival Maryland at M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore, Md. The Blue Devils and Terrapins face off at 2:30 p.m.