Men’s Lacrosse Hosts No. 8 Albany

Photo courtesy of Gil Talbot
Photo courtesy of Gil Talbot
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Series Record
Last Meeting
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Harvard vs. No. 8 Albany
Wednesday, March 29
7 p.m.
Harvard Stadium
ILDN/Facebook Live
Live Stats
Harvard (5-3, 1-1 Ivy)
No. 8 Albany (6-1, 2-0 AE)
Harvard trails, 5-0
L, 10-9
Harvard vs. Albany

The Storyline
After a three-game trip, Harvard men's lacrosse returns to the confines of Harvard Stadium to host No. 8 Albany Wednesday night. The game is the last before a 10-day hiatus and can be watched live on the Ivy League Digital Network and Facebook Live.

What to Watch For
Morgan Cheek has registered 5.63 points per game, sitting fourth in the country. The junior also ranks No. 4 in goals per game (3.25) and fifth in the nation in assists per game (2.38).

• Harvard will face another prolific scorer, as Connor Field ranks first in the country in points per game with 7.57, tallying a NCAA-best 4.29 goals per game.

• Four players have tallied hat tricks this season, Morgan Cheek (six times), Ryan Graff (twice), Joe Lang and J.T. Palladino.  

• Junior goalie Robert Shaw made a career-high 21 saves in the 11-7 win over UMass and ranks third in the Ivy League and 16th in the country with 11.75 saves per game. The netminder ranks second in the Ancient Eight in save percentage at .547.

• Cheek was named to the 2017 Tewaaraton Award Watch List, the pre-eminent lacrosse award that honors the top male and female college lacrosse player.

• Captaining the team this year will be midfielder Sean Coleman, defenseman Ryan Norton and long stick midfielder Matt Ryan.

Last Time Out
Behind eight points from Morgan Cheek, Harvard cruised by Dartmouth, 14-7, Saturday afternoon at Scully-Fahey Field.

Cheek netted four goals and dished out four assists to pace the Crimson, while rookie Ryan Graff added four goals for his second hat trick of the year. Joe Lang and Nigel Andrews added two scores apiece.

The Crimson ranks first in the Ivy League in scoring defense, allowing 10.38 per game.  

Fresh Faces
Three rookies have earned starts this year, as Ryan Graff (eight starts), David Strupp (four) and Beau Botkiss (three) have seen major minutes in the rotation. Rookies account for 28 points. In total, five rookies have started and 11 first-year players have seen action.    

Back in Action 
The Crimson returns 27 letterwinners from a season ago and three players that started 10-plus games. Offensively, two of the top three point-getters are back. Starting goalie Robert Shaw returns between the pipes.  

That's a 10-4
A year ago, the Crimson's magic number was 10, posting an 8-2 record when reaching double-digit goals. Harvard was 0-6 when scoring nine goals or less. This season, Harvard is 5-1 when scoring 10-plus, the lone loss coming at the hands of No. 3 Penn State. The Crimson is 0-2 when scoring less than 10.

Home Field Advantage
Harvard is 33-15 at home under Chris Wojcik '96, The Frisbie Family Head Coach for Harvard Men's Lacrosse, including a 6-2 record over the last two years. The Crimson is 14-11 in Harvard Stadium with Wojcik at the helm, and boasts an 19-4 record at Jordan Field.

Hot Start

Harvard started 4-0 for the second-straight year, tying its best start since going 5-0 to begin the 2000 season. In the 126 years of the program's history, this marked only the sixth time that Harvard had started 4-0. The best start in program history came in 1961 when the team opened with a 10-0 start.  

Against Top Talent
Harvard has defeated 15 ranked opponents under head coach Chris Wojcik '96, including five wins over top-10 teams. The Crimson defeated three ranked teams last season. Harvard is 0-1 this season against ranked foes.

Just Cheeky
Junior Morgan Cheek has become a focal point for opposing defenses, finding the back of the net 26 times and adding 19 assists for 45 points. A year ago, Cheek scored 36 goals and dished out 24 assists for 60 points Cheek owns a 26-game point streak, the 17th-longest in the nation.

Scouting the Great Danes   
UAlbany is on a six-game winning streak, defeating Canisius and UMass Lowell last week to sit No. 8 in the media and coaches poll. The Great Danes are the only ranked team from the America East and its lone loss came at the hands of Syracuse, 10-9. Since then, the Great Danes have scored 17-plus in each of the last six games.

Leading the charge is Connor Fields, who ranks first in the nation in both points (7.57) and goals (4.29) per game. Albany is great at the face-off X, as TD Ireland hits a 67.3 percent clip, third in the nation, and ranks first in the NCAA in ground balls per game (10.43).

Scott Marr is in his 17th season as UAlbany's head coach. The only coach hired in the Division I era at the University at Albany, Marr, a five-time America East Coach of the Year, has coached the Great Danes to seven America East Tournament titles, eight appearances in the NCAA Tournament and a trio of NCAA Tournament victories.  He has a 154-109 career record at UAlbany and has coached Tewaaraton winners in 2014 and 2015 and 23 All-Americans.

Inside the Series – Albany
2016 Record            12-4, 6-0 America East
USILA Div. I Coaches Poll     8
Cascade/Maverik Media Poll          8
All-Time Series          Harvard trails, 5-0
Streak             L5
Last Harvard Win      N/A
Last Albany Win        10-9 (3/20/2016)


Tale of the Tape



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Now in Goal
Robert Shaw owns an 13-11 career record in goal, with three of his victories coming in overtime. The junior, who started every game a year ago, sports a .535 career save percentage while allowing 10.40 goals against. He made double-digit saves in 17 games and at least 15 saves in five games over his career.

NCAA Championships Host
The NCAA, Gillette Stadium and Harvard University announced that the 2017 and 2018 NCAA Men's Lacrosse Championships will be played at Gillette Stadium, the home of the National Football League's New England Patriots and Major League Soccer's New England Revolution. The Division I, II and III Men's Lacrosse Championships, as well as the Women's Lacrosse Division I Lacrosse Championships, will be played over Memorial Day Weekend, on May 27-29 in 2017 and on May 26-28 in 2018.

The agreement marks the fourth and fifth times the championships will be held at Gillette Stadium, where the event has enjoyed a history of tremendous success. In 2008, Gillette Stadium set attendance records for the Division I final (48,970) and the Division II and III finals (24,317).

Harvard has teamed with the NCAA several times in recent years to host NCAA championship events. In addition to hosting the 2008, 2009, and 2012 NCAA Men's Lacrosse Championships, Harvard served as host for the 2006 women's basketball Final Four at the TD Bank Garden, the 2010 fencing championships at Gordon Indoor Track, and the 2013 women's water polo championships at Blodgett Pool.

20-Plus Goal Scorers
Harvard boasted four goal scorers with 20-plus goals last season (Devin Dwyer, 40; Morgan Cheek, 36; Will Walker, 23; Joe Lang, 22). It marked the second-consecutive year that the Crimson completed the feat. Previously under Chris Wojcik '96, the Crimson had never had more than two goal scorers with 20-plus goals in a season.

Dwyer and Cheek were the first Crimson teammates to score 30-plus goals in a season since Jeff Cohen '12 and Dean Gibbons '11 scored 31 goals and 30 goals, respectively, in 2011.

In the Polls
Last season, the Crimson ranked as high as No. 8 in the Coaches Poll, its highest ranking since finishing the 1996 campaign ranked sixth. Head coach Chris Wojcik '96 captained that year's team to the quarterfinals of the NCAA tournament, earning All-America honorable mention and first team All-Ivy League accolades along the way. 

Working Overtime
The Crimson opened last season with three-straight overtime wins. Based on available information, this is only the second time in NCAA history that a team has won three-consecutive overtime games, matching Fairfield who completed the feat in 2012. Harvard has played a total of four overtime games this season, the most in program history. 

Preseason Honors
Joe Lang and Morgan Cheek were each named Inside Lacrosse Preseason All-Americans, tabbed as honorable mentions. Lang (first), Cheek and Coleman (second) were also named to the NEILA preseason teams.

In the Pros
Stephen Jahelka and Devin Dwyer were selected in the 2016 Major League Lacrosse Draft. The duo became the seventh and eighth players, respectively, drafted from Harvard entering their senior years.

Jahelka was selected in the second round, 14th overall, by the Denver Outlaws, matching Kevin Vaughn '12, who was also taken 14th overall by the Outlaws, for the highest draft slot by a Harvard student-athlete. Jahelka was traded to the New York Lizards in April. 

Dwyer was selected in the sixth round, 46th overall, by the Florida Launch. This marked the first time since 2012 that multiple Crimson were in the same draft class.

The duo joins former Harvard standouts Brian Fischer '15 (2015 draft 34th overall, Boston Cannons), Daniel Eipp '14 (2014 draft 32nd overall, Rochester Rattlers), 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) in the MLL ranks.

Close Calls
Harvard is 14-17 in games decided by one goal under Chris Wojcik '96, The Frisbie Family Head Coach for Harvard Men's Lacrosse, including a 5-4 record in overtime.

Team USA
Associate head coach Ben DeLuca was named as the assistant general manager for the 2018 Men's National Lacrosse Team. The team will pursue a record 10th gold medal at the 2018 Federation of International Lacrosse (FIL) World Championship in Manchester, England. 

Howdy Myers Man of the Year
Bob Scalise, The John D. Nichols '53 Family Director of Athletics, was selected as the 2015 recipient of the Howdy Myers Man of the Year Award by the United States Intercollegiate Lacrosse Association (USILA). The award is given to someone who has contributed to the game of lacrosse in a capacity over and above the normal efforts and in so doing, has shown unselfish and untiring devotion to the game. The award itself is named in honor of Howdy Myers, who coached 17 championship teams at St. Paul's, Johns Hopkins, and Hofstra and was inducted into the Lacrosse Hall of Fame in 1971. 

Scalise spent his playing days at Brown, where he received All-New England and All-Ivy honors. At Brown, Scalise also set an NCAA record of 11 goals in one game, a mark that still sits atop the record books today. Scalise became the head coach of the Harvard men's lacrosse team in 1975. Through 13 seasons he led the Crimson to a 98-77 overall record, one Ivy League championship, and the program's first NCAA tournament appearance. During his tenure, he coached 25 All-Americans and 39 All-Ivy League honorees. Scalise was appointed as Harvard's Athletic Director in 2001. Under Scalise, the Crimson has hosted three NCAA Lacrosse Championships at Gillette Stadium (2008, 2009, 2012). Scalise is the current chair of the NCAA Men's Lacrosse Rule Committee and a former member of the NCAA Men's Lacrosse Tournament Selection Committee. He was inducted into the US Lacrosse Eastern Massachusetts Hall of Fame on July 11, 2015.