In the opening game of Ivy League play, Bruno played neck-and-neck lacrosse with Harvard for three quarters. But a scoreless final 15 minutes caused Brown's undoing in a 11-7 defeat Saturday at Meister-Kavan Field. Harvard (5-1, 1-0 Ivy League) was led by Dean Gibbons and Ryan Stevens, who each posted hat tricks. The Crimson played a consistent, mistake-free game to earn a key victory over the Bears (2-3, 0-1).
"Harvard's a darn good team with really talented lacrosse players," said Head Coach Lars Tiffany '90. "For us to beat such a talented team, we have to play at a high level, and we didn't play at a high level."
Tri-captain Peter Fallon '11, a defenseman, cited mental lapses and sloppy play as contributing factors in the loss.
"We kind of fell apart there at the end," he said. "A couple mental mistakes, a couple dropped passes. They're too good a team to give up second chances to, and they put us away."
Brown got off to a sluggish start in the first quarter. Harvard fired the first six shots of the game and scored the opening goal, courtesy of Gibbons. Attacker Johnny DePeters '13 tied the score five minutes later, but a second goal by Gibbons put the Crimson up 2-1 after one quarter.
In a wild second quarter, Harvard extended its lead to 4-1 on quick goals from Jeff Cohen and Terry White while the Bears continued to play sloppily. But in a span of 6:43 in the middle of the quarter, Bruno snapped out of its funk and went on a 4-0 run to take its first lead of the game.
Tri-captain Andrew Feinberg '11 added to his team-leading 13 goals with a masterful finish as he fought his way from around the back of the cage before beating Harvard goalie Harry Krieger from a tight angle. Less than a minute later, midfielder Sam Hurster '14 fired home a well-placed shot from long range. Fellow midfielder Teddy Daiber '11 tied the game on a hard-nosed goal from close range before Feinberg's second score of the day gave Brown a 5-4 lead with 2:14 left in the half.
But only 41 seconds later, Harvard got one back, and the teams went into halftime knotted at five.
In the third quarter, Stevens scored three goals for Harvard, but Brown refused to relent. Midfielder David Hawley '11 scored an extra-man goal, and with only seven seconds left in the quarter, attacker Rob Schlesinger '12 came up big to bring the score to 8-7. The junior created space to get off a shot, which clipped the crossbar on its way in for his fourth tally of the season.
But the momentum created by the goal was short-lived, as Harvard owned the fourth period to close out the game. The Crimson scored three times on unassisted goals from Gibbons, White and Daniel Eipp to clinch an 11-7 win. At the other end of the field, Brown pressed but could not beat Krieger, who made five saves in the final quarter.
"We played some good lacrosse today," Tiffany said. "But overall, just too many unforced turnovers and mental mistakes that, against a good team, is going to cost you."
The early-season conference loss is a tough blow to the Bears' Ivy League championship hopes, as league standings are perennially tight.
"I think we have to play with more of a sense of urgency," Fallon said. "Last year, 4-2 got in the Ivy League playoffs, but this year, you never really know. We're already a step behind everyone else, so we're going to need to make it back somehow. We don't really have any more room for error."
Tiffany said the loss hurts, but the team "has to put it on the back burner" moving forward and concentrate on fixing the mistakes that have plagued them in the early going this year.
"Being 0-1 in the league now, we've created a big hurdle for us," Tiffany said. "We just have to keep getting better. We're just not playing great lacrosse now, and we continue to make mistakes. We'll keep working harder. … We just have to keep refining it and refining it and get sharper."
Next up for Bruno is the University of Vermont (4-3) at home Saturday. Following that game, the Bears will hit the road for two challenging contests against defending national champion Duke (6-2) and No. 11 Princeton (1-4, 0-1).