The Crimson and Tar Heels will square off for the first time since 1990 on Tuesday (Gil Talbot).
The Harvard men's lacrosse team will put its three-game win streak on the line as it travels to North Carolina to face the No. 6/7 Tar Heels Tuesday, March 18. Faceoff is slated for 7 p.m. live on ESPN3.
Scouting No. 6/7 North Carolina
The Tar Heels are coming off a 9-8 overtime loss at then-No. 4/6 Duke on Saturday. North Carolina held an 8-7 lead late in the fourth quarter, but a Blue Devil strike with just 1:47 remaining evened the score and sent the game into the extra session.
The loss dropped North Carolina to 5-2 overall and 0-2 in the ACC. The Tar Heels, however, are 2-0 against the Ivy League, having already defeated Dartmouth, 18-5, and then No. 14/13 Princeton, 13-11.
North Carolina's attack is led by Joey Sankey who boasts 28 points on 16 goals and 12 assists. Jimmy Bitter has added 14 goals and 7 assists for 21 points, while five other Tar Heels have registered at least 10 points. UNC is winning 58 percent of faceoffs this season, bolstered by Greg McBride's 61-of-96 conversion rate. Kieran Burke has started all seven games in goal, and bosts a 7.08 goals against average to go with a .593 save percentage.
Inside the Series
Harvard leads the all-time series with North Carolina, 2-1, but Tuesday's contest will mark the first time the teams have met since the 1990 NCAA tournament quarterfinals when the Tar Heels defeated the Crimson, 18-3. The teams first squared off in 1953 with Harvard taking a 17-6 victory, and again in 1960 with the Crimson coming away on top, 12-1.
The Crimson will return to Ivy League play as it welcomes Dartmouth to Cambridge Saturday, March 22. The game is scheduled to be held in Harvard Stadium beginning at 1 p.m., and will be simulcast live on ESPN3 and the Ivy League Digital Network.
Rank and File
Harvard is currently listed as receiving votes in both the Warriors Div. I Media Top 10 and the USILA Div. I Coaches Poll. The Crimson last 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.
Last Time Out
The Harvard men's lacrosse team overpowered Brown in the second half en route to a 16-10 win Saturday night under the lights of Soldiers Field Lacrosse Stadium.
A standing-room crowd was on hand as Harvard picked up its third straight win to improve to 4-2 overall, 1-0 in the Ivy League. After playing to an 8-8 tie at intermission, the Crimson outscored Brown 8-2 in the second half to take the victory.
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.
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 10 points despite playing in just two games.
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
Turning Them Away
Junior Jake Gambitsky has been solid in goal for the Crimson and sports a 9.54 goals against average with a .556 save percentage. Gambitsky has recorded double-digit saves in five of Harvard's six contests this season, and set a new career-high with 18 stops on March 8 at Georgetown.
Harvard's sophomore class has accounted for 62 percent of the Crimson's offense this season. The group has totaled 70 of the team's 113 points, led by Will Walker (13g, 2a), Devin Dwyer (3g, 7a), Brendan Newman (6g, 3a), Sean Mahon (4g, 5a), Sean McDonagh (5g, 4a) and Deke Burns (6g, 1a).
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 43-75 at the X this season. The senior has won 56.9 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
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; Cornell (3/4), Duke (4/3), North Carolina (6/7), UMass (11/11), Princeton (12/13), Penn (13/14), Yale (16/16), Albany (19/18).
Home Field Advantage
Harvard is 18-9 at home under Chris Wojcik '96, The Frisbie Family Head Coach for Harvard Men's Lacrosse. The Crimson is an even 7-7 in Harvard Stadium, but boasts an 11-2 record at Soldiers Field Lacrosse Stadium.
Six members of the Harvard men's lacrosse team were honored by the New England Intercollegiate Lacrosse Association (NEILA) With inclusion on the Preseason All-NEILA teams. Daniel Eipp, Bobby Duvnjak and Stephen Jahelka were each named to the first team, while Devin Dwyer, Brian Fischer and Jake Gambitsky were tabbed to the second team.
Additionally, Dwyer was named as an Inside Lacrosse Preseason All-America honorable mention selection.
Related Link: Six Crimson Named to Preseason All-NEILA Teams
Daniel Eipp was selected in the fourth round of the 2014 Major League Lacrosse Draft by the Rochester Rattlers. Eipp was chosen 32nd overall by the Rattlers, joining former Harvard standouts Kevin Vaughn '12 (2012 draft 14th overall, Denver Outlaws), Daniel DiMaria '12 (2012 draft 41st overall, Charlotte Hounds), Jason Duboe '10 (2010 draft 33rd overall, Boston Cannons) and Henry Flood '07 (2007 draft 32nd overall, Washington Bayhawks) as one of five Crimson to be selected in the draft.
Captaining the Ship
Seniors Joe Petrucci and Peter Schwartz were voted by their teammates as captains for the 2014 season. Petrucci, a defenseman, has started 23 of 37 games played throughout his career including 13 of 14 contests a year ago. Schwartz, an All-Ivy League and NEILA All-New England second team selection in 2013, ranked second on the team in points (34), goals (18) and assists (16) as a junior.
"I am pleased to announce Joe Petrucci and Peter Schwartz as our team captains for the 2013-14 school year," Chris Wojcik '96, The Frisbie Family Head Coach for Harvard Men's Lacrosse, stated. "Joe and Peter are young men of high character, and they have established themselves as strong leaders over their Harvard lacrosse careers. Both seniors possess an outstanding work ethic, a commitment to success, and are respected members of the overall Harvard community."
Welcome to Cambridge
Chris Wojcik '96, The Frisbie Family Head Coach for Harvard Men's Lacrosse has once again assembled one of the top recruiting classes in the nation with the addition of nine freshmen for the 2014 season. Harvard's Class of 2017 has been ranked as the seventh-best recruiting class by Inside Lacrosse and features four individuals ranked in the top 100.
"We are happy to welcome the class of 2017 to campus," Wojcik commented. "The class embodies high character, talent and a strong collective work ethic. The nine young men hail from eight different states, and are a product of strong high school programs."
Harvard has boasted a top 10 recruiting class each of the last five years, including third-ranked classes in 2011 and 2009, and the fourth-ranked class a year ago.
At the Helm
Chris Wojcik '96, The Frisbie Family Head Coach for Harvard Men's Lacrosse, is in his fourth season at the helm of the Crimson. Wojcik has posted a 22-22 record over his first three years, including a 10-6 campaign as a rookie head coach which saw the Crimson reach the Ivy League Tournament championship game.
12 Crimson have been named All-Ivy League since Wojcik's arrival, including four members of the first team. Harvard has also seen 12 players be named to the NEILA All-New England Teams with Daniel Eipp and Devin Dwyer picking up rookie of the year honors in 2011 and 2013, respectively. Harvard has earned five victories over ranked opponents under Wojcik's guidance, four of which have come at home.
As a two-sport standout as a member of the Crimson, Wojcik earned lacrosse All-America honors in 1996 after captaining Harvard to the NCAA tournament. He led the Crimson to a 15-12 victory against Hofstra in the first round of the tournament before the team fell to Virginia in the national quarterfinals. Wojcik completed his career with 134 points on 89 goals and 45 assists, placing him first among midfielders and 15th overall all-time on the program's scoring list.
In addition to his honors on the lacrosse field, Wojcik served as captain of the Harvard soccer team, earning two All-Ivy League honors and leading the team to an Ivy League title and an NCAA tournament appearance in the fall of 1994.