Men's Lacrosse Faces First Road Test at Massachusetts

Photo by Gil Talbot.
Photo by Gil Talbot.
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Harvard vs. Massachusetts
Feb. 24, 2018
            1 p.m.
Richard Garber Field
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UMass Sports Network
Harvard trails 16-32
W, 11-7 (Feb. 25, 2017)
Harvard vs. UMass (PDF)

The Storyline
The Harvard men's lacrosse team visits Massachusetts in its first road game of the season on Saturday, Feb. 24 at Richard Garber Field. The 1 p.m. face-off will be broadcast on the UMass Sports Network.

What to Watch For
Morgan Cheek ranked seventh nationally a year ago with 5.15 points per game, and ninth in the country with 2.85 goals and 2.31 assists per game. Cheek has tallied seven points on one goal and six assists to start the season, and is four assists and 18 goals away from breaking into the top 10 in program history in both categories.

• Senior goalie Robert Shaw was one of the top netminders in the Ivy League a year ago, as he ranked second in save percentage at 52.6%, just 0.6% behind the Ivy lead. Through two games, Shaw boasts a 58.6% save percentage, which ranks 10th nationally.

• Harvard has won three consecutive battles with UMass, including an 11-7 victory in Cambridge a year ago that was highlighted by nine points from Cheek (4g, 5a).

Last Time Out
At home for the second game in a row to start the season, Harvard men's lacrosse fell in double overtime to Holy Cross, 10-9, on Tuesday evening at Jordan Field.

Senior Morgan Cheek led the offense with six points, including a career-best five assists, while sophomores Kyle Anderson and Ryan Graff scored two goals apiece. Senior Robert Shaw tallied 13 saves between the posts.

Cheek-y Finish
Senior Morgan Cheek enters the weekend on a 33-game point streak that dates back to April 17, 2015. The stretch is the ninth-longest in the country, and the second-longest among Ivy League student-athletes. Over the 33-game span, Cheek has recorded 141 points on 79 goals and 62 assists.

Rookie of the Week
Following a productive game in his first-career outing, freshman Steven Cuccurullo was named the Ivy League Rookie of the Week for Feb. 12-18

Cuccurullo sparked the Harvard offense by winning 13 of 17 face-offs in the Crimson's 10-9 season-opening win over UMass Lowell, which was Harvard's fourth-straight in a season debut. Cuccurullo also collected a game-high seven ground balls, which was four more than any other Crimson or River Hawks' student-athlete.

Sophomore Success
Sophomores Ryan Graff and Kyle Anderson are off to hot starts in 2018, with the duo combining for 23 points in games against UMass Lowell and Holy Cross. Graff is tied for the team lead with seven points, on four goals and three helpers, while Anderson has a team-high five goals and one assist.

In the Back of the Net
Senior Morgan Cheek led five players with double-digit goal tallies in 2017, scoring 37 goals with a team-best 67 points. Sophomore Ryan Graff placed second on the team a year ago with 20 goals, while senior Joe Lang beat the goalie 19 times while dishing 10 assists.

Seniors Tim Edmonds and Carney Mahon totaled 15 and 11 goals, respectively, a year ago.

In total, Harvard returns an astounding 141 of 142 goals scored last year (99.3%).

Now in Goal
Robert Shaw owns a 15-16 career record in goal, with three of his victories coming in overtime. The junior, who started every game a year ago, sports a .531 career save percentage while allowing 10.85 goals against. He made double-digit saves in 22 games and at least 15 saves in seven games over his career.

Scouting Massachusetts
UMass is 1-1 in 2018 after posting a win over Sacred Heart and coming up short against Army West Point. The Minutemen went 7-8 a year ago, including a 3-2 mark in CAA action.

Buddy Carr leads the squad with seven points, on three goals and four assists, while Chris Connolly has potted a team-high four goals. Sean Sconone has seen the most time in goal, posting a 13.04 goals-against average and 54.7% save percentage.

Metro Lacrosse

Perfect 10
The Crimson's magic number is 10, posting a 14-5 record over the last two-plus years when reaching double-digit goals. Harvard is 1-10 when scoring nine goals or less over that time. This year, Harvard is 1-0 when reaching double figures.

NCAA Championships Host
The NCAA, Gillette Stadium and Harvard University announced that the 2018 NCAA Men's Lacrosse Championship 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 will be played over Memorial Day weekend, May 26-28.

The agreement, which included Harvard hosting the 2017 event, 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.

What's Next?
Harvard returns to Jordan Field for a 1 p.m. clash with Hartford on Saturday, March 3. The game will be broadcast on the Ivy League Network.