Season Recap: Youth Movement Helps Men’s Lacrosse Continue Ascent

Season Recap: Youth Movement Helps Men’s Lacrosse Continue Ascent

Photo courtesy of Gil Talbot.

In the third season under John Tillman, the Frisbie Family Head Coach for Harvard Men’s Lacrosse, the Crimson reached as high as No. 11 in the national rankings for the second straight season, won at least six games for the third consecutive spring and defeated then-No. 6 Princeton for the first time since 1990. 

Harvard, which will return more than 86 percent of its offense next season, was led by junior attacker Dean Gibbons, who tallied 27 goals and added a team-best 14 assists for 41 points.  Sophomore attackman Jeff Cohen, who completed the season with a 25-game point streak dating back to 2009, tied for the 14th longest scoring streak in the nation, paced the Crimson with 29 goals.  Gibbons and Cohen combined for 11 of Harvard’s 19 man-up tallies, while sophomore attacker Kevin Vaughan (15-8-23) led the way with two game winners.

In addition to returning the majority of its offense, Harvard will bring back its two goalkeepers that saw the most time in 2010.  As a freshman, Harry Krieger posted a 4-4 overall record, while owning a 10.75 goals-against average.  Krieger earned wins over Holy Cross, Massachusetts, Dartmouth and Princeton.  In addition, Krieger was named the Ivy League Rookie of the Week April 5 after stopping a season-high 14 shots against then-No. 5 Duke before a record 13,285 fans at Harvard Stadium.  Sophomore Christian Coates boasted a 2-2 record in goal, while owning a 9.62 goals-against average. 

At season’s end, Gibbons, sophomore midfielder Terry White and senior defenseman Ben Smith garnered All-Ivy League honors, with Gibbons and White earning spots on the second team, while Smith was tabbed All-Ivy honorable mention.  Gibbons and White were also named to the New England Intercollegiate Lacrosse Association (NEILA) All-New England second team. 

The Crimson opened its 132nd season with an impressive, 16-6, victory at home against Canisius Feb. 26.  Gibbons set a personal best with five goals on only six shots, while Cohen chipped in with three goals and an assist.  Harvard enjoyed a strong day in faceoffs, as Christian Oberbeck won 9-of-12 draws and Andrew Parchman went 7-of-8 on faceoffs.  The Crimson, which moved up to No. 11 in the polls then traveled south to visit No. 14 Georgetown in a key non-conference tilt March 3.  Vaughan, senior attacker Travis Burr and Cohen each netted three goals apiece, helping Harvard come back from a 13-8 deficit in the final minutes, but the Crimson could not find the equalizer, falling, 13-12. 

On March 6, Harvard began a three-game win streak, starting with a 9-7 win at Holy Cross.  Gibbons guided the offense with a four-goal showing, while Krieger turned aside seven of the 14 shots he faced in the victory.  One week later, the Crimson grabbed its second road win, as Harvard knocked off No. 18 Massachusetts, 14-13.  Sophomore defenseman Daniel DiMaria grabbed a career-best eight ground balls, while the duo of Cohen and Gibbons combined for six scores.

The Crimson returned home to host Colgate March 16, as Harvard defeated the Raiders, 11-8.  Freshman midfielder Alex White collected six ground balls, won six faceoffs and scored a goal in the win, while Vaughan contributed a hat trick and an assist, as the team improved to 4-1 on the season.

Harvard then opened Ivy League play against Brown in the Crimson’s first game of the season at Harvard Stadium March 20.  The Bears used a six-goal run in the first and second quarters to carry a 7-4 lead at halftime.  Harvard went on a scoring run of its own in the second half, but could not close the gap, dropping the game, 13-11.  Cohen and Terry White each tallied four goals to lead Harvard’s offense. 

The Crimson rebounded the following week by earning a 13-11 victory against Dartmouth, as Harvard picked up its first Ivy League win and improved to 5-2 overall.  The Crimson used a 10-goal second half to overcome a 7-3 halftime deficit against the Big Green.  Seven different Harvard players found the back of the net, led by Cohen, who contributed a hat trick.  Freshman midfielder Jeff Molinari scooped up a career-high nine ground balls, while Parchman went 10-for-13 on faceoffs and Alex White won 11-of-14 draws. 

On April 2, Harvard hosted national power Duke under the lights at Harvard Stadium.  Dean Gibbons netted two goals and added an assist, while the trio of Vaughan, Parchman and Cohen collected three ground balls apiece in a 14-5 win for the Blue Devils. Up next, the Crimson visited then-No. 10 Cornell looking to improve on its 1-1Ivy League record.  Harvard, which led 8-7 entering the fourth quarter, surrendered six goals in the final frame, falling just short, 13-12.  Cohen continued his offensive surge, tallying four goals and adding an assist for five points, while Gibbons fired two shots into the back of the net and dished out two helpers.  Krieger turned aside 14 shots, while Parchman claimed 10 faceoff wins out of 16 chances.

Harvard remained on the road to face Penn April 17 in a game broadcast throughout the Northeast on Comcast Sportsnet.  The Quakers, which held the Crimson to only 27 shots for the game, used a five-goal run in the third quarter to hold off Harvard, 12-7. 

With the Crimson’s back against the wall and in need of a win against No. 6 Princeton in order to remain alive for a spot in the inaugural Ivy League tournament, Harvard put forth its best performance of the season, upsetting the tigers, 11-8, at Harvard Stadium April 24.  On Senior Day before 2,827 fans, Harvard held a 6-4 lead at halftime and never looked back, defeating the Tigers for the first time in 19 games.  In the win, which helped the Crimson improve to 6-5 overall and 2-3 in the Ancient Eight, Alex White won 12 faceoffs, grabbed eight ground balls and caused a turnover and was rewarded as the Ivy League Rookie of the Week.  Vaughan notched a hat trick, while Krieger stopped 13 shots to earn the key victory. 

In the regular-season finale, Harvard traveled to New Haven, Conn., to take on archrival and 17th-ranked Yale, as the Crimson needed a win to clinch a spot in the postseason.  Cohen scored four goals and Vaughan dished out four assists, including three on goals by Cohen, but Harvard was held scoreless in the final 10:01 of the game and fell, 9-8.  In addition to his four-point game, Vaughan grabbed a team-high six ground balls, while Krieger recorded seven saves, as Harvard completed its season 6-6 overall and 2-4 in the Ivy League.