Crimson roll men’s lacrosse team in third stanza

After even first, Harvard rolls through Bruno with 8-2 second half, holding leading scorer Molloy ’17 scoreless

Senior Staff Writer
Monday, March 17, 2014

Kylor Bellistri ’16 leads the Bears with seven dimes on the season, but he and the rest of the Bears’ offense were stifled in the second half of their Ivy opener at Harvard.

The men’s lacrosse team faltered on the road Saturday against Harvard, losing its first conference matchup of the season by a 16-10 decision. Though the teams tied 8-8 in the first half, the Crimson outscored Bruno 8-2 in the second half.

The Crimson (4-2, 1-0 Ivy) opened the scoring with two quick goals in the first three minutes. But the Bears (3-2, 0-1) fired back with two retaliation goals from Brendan Caputo ’16 and Tyler Landis ’15 to knot the game.

With 19 ticks left in the first quarter and Harvard leading 4-3, Will Walker slotted an unassisted goal past Jack Kelly ’16 to give the Crimson a two-goal advantage. Walker would finish the game with three goals, one of three players to score a hat trick for Harvard.

“Harvard is a really dangerous offensive team,” said Head Coach Lars Tiffany ’90. “They’re athletic at every position, and they were consistently exposing us on our defensive end and creating great shots for themselves.”

The Bears hit the Crimson with a number of defensive schemes — early slide, man-to-man and zone — but the Crimson had an answer for every new look Bruno presented, Tiffany said.

Bruno won the second-quarter battle, netting five goals to Harvard’s three and leveling the score at eight. At the midpoint, Crimson goalie Jake Gambitsky had made just two saves while allowing the Bears eight goals.

“At halftime, I’m feeling great about our offense, but I’m flabbergasted as to how to defend Harvard,” Tiffany said. “Kelly had nine saves in the first half — he’s playing great — while the other goalie has two saves. So we’re playing really efficient, smart offensive lacrosse, but we’re relying on our goalie to keep this game level.”

Kelly was no match for the Crimson offense in the second half. Harvard blew the game open in the third quarter, scoring five times on 10 attempts on goal, while holding the Bears to just two shots on target.

“Our offense wasn’t able to sustain what they did in the first half,” Tiffany said. “We were really sloppy with the ball (and) had a ton of turnovers. We just couldn’t keep up the high level that Harvard was playing at.”

Bruno picked up two goals in the fourth quarter, but gave up three more. Kelly ended the day saving 15 of the 31 attempts fired at him.

Dylan Molloy ’17, the talented rookie who leads the Bears in goals, was stifled by the Crimson defense. Molloy managed just one shot attempt and was forced into three turnovers.

“The secret is out: Number four for Brown is really good,” Tiffany said, referring to Molloy. “Harvard put its best defenseman, Stephen Jahelka, on (Molloy). He’s one of the best defensemen in the country… But to Dylan’s credit, he kept playing. He didn’t back down from the challenge, and he continued to go hard at the goal. But it was a tough matchup for him.”

The Crimson battered Bruno’s defense all day, ripping 45 total shots. The difference in the game came down to athleticism, Tiffany said, adding that Harvard is probably the most athletic team the Bears will face this season.

“They’re just so fast and talented,” Tiffany said. “You can only do so much to prepare for that in practice.”

The Bears will try to shake off the stinging Ivy loss and focus on their next game Wednesday against Bucknell University (3-4, 2-2 Patriot). The Bison run a 10-man ride defense that involves their goalie leaving the cage to cover one of the opponent’s attackers, freeing up a defender to cover another player higher up the field, Tiffany said.

Bucknell is “a high-powered offense,” he said. “But we’re ready for the challenge.”

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