In an aggressive and physical game, Harvard survived Yale, 10-9, to advance to the Ivy League Tournament final while sending their archrivals home to New Haven in a luxury body bag. The Crimson improved their NCAA Tournament resume with the victory, pushing Harvard closer to an invitation to The Big Barbeque should the team fail to earn the Ivy League's automatic bid. The loss creates issues for the Bulldogs as their only path to a May adventure turns on the team's at-large hopes, dreams that are now contingent on the Ivy League potentially getting four slots -- an unlikelihood -- in the 18-team field.
The Elis raced out to an early two-goal lead against their nemesis, getting buckets on their first two offensive possessions in the game's opening 2:55. Harvard would battle back to take a 4-3 lead with 2:53 remaining in the first quarter, but a Conrad Oberbeck tally just 31 seconds after a Deke Burns goal drew Yale square with the Crimson at four apiece. Oberbeck would put Yale ahead 59 seconds into the second period on a curling goal that started from behind the crease and beat Jake Gambitsky high and to the far post. Yale's lead -- a one-goal cushion -- would be its last of the night.
Harvard went to work shortly after the goal, methodically and surgically attacking Yale's defense. An Ian Ardrey goal in a flag-down situation pulled Harvard even with Yale -- it was a beautiful score that started with Will Walker matriculating the ball to Daniel Eipp at the top of the box and Eipp dumping the ball down to Ardery on the crease -- and Peter Schwartz cashed in with a man-up goal 59 seconds later to give the Crimson the lead. Harvard pushed its lead out to 8-5 after tallies from Ardrey and Schwartz, entering the break with a two-goal advantage after Oberbeck stopped Yale's bleeding with a blast with only 14 seconds remaining in the half. The four-goal run from Harvard in the second period was the epitome of beautiful lacrosse: The Crimson's willingness to share the rock created a web of terror that the Elis struggled to handle, getting value from all the assets in Harvard's offensive portfolio.
Yale made a small charge in a quiet third period, using virtually all of the quarter to get an early goal from Jeff Cimbalista and a late tally from Brandon Mangan on an assist from Cimbalista. The teams combined for nine turnovers against 12 total shot in the periods, an arduous quarter of almost-lacrosse that was tolerable only because the scoreboard was locked at eight.
The Crimson pulled their offense out of cold storage in the final stanza, getting an Ardrey goal from the crease 2:03 into the final quarter. Harvard's 9-8 lead would grow to 10-8 in just 4:26 after Schwartz put together an "Oops! I scored!" goal in a timer-on situation with 8:31 remaining in the game. The tally would serve as the game-winner, but nonsense -- college! -- would extend the finality of the event.
Out of a timeout that followed a blown Yale clear with 1:53 remaining in regulation, Harvard started burning clock. With under a minute to play, some chucklehead threw a football on the field, presumably to increase his or her stock before next week's NFL Draft. The officials assessed an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty on Harvard -- footballs are, inherently, unsportsmanlike because they are footballs and, therefore, do not have feelings (importantly, they lack sportsmanlike feelings) -- and then pegged Chris Wojcik with an unsportsmanlike penalty for standing in the wrong place while expressing his unsportsmanlike feelings about the feelings-less football that ended up on the field. Yale scored on the two-man advantage, but with only eight seconds left on the clock, Harvard was able to tie up the ensuing faceoff and seal the win.
TRUNCATED ADVANCED BOX SCORE
|Raw Offensive Efficiency||34.48||30.00|
|Raw Offensive Shooting Rate||32.36%||37.50%|
|Shots per Offensive Opportunity||1.07||0.80|
|Turnovers per 100 Offensive Opportunities||65.52||53.33|
|Run-of-Play Groundballs per 100 Possessions||28.81||25.42|
|Saves per 100 Defensive Opportunities||16.67||34.48|
|Team Save Percentage||35.71%||50.00%|