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Bears catch Crimson in fourth quarter comeback

The squad earned its fourthsstraight win before a coming road trip to North Carolina

The men’s lacrosse team opened Ivy League play with a come-from-behind win Saturday, beating Harvard 11-9 under the lights at Stevenson Field. The Bears (4-1, 1-0 Ivy) got off to a slow start against the Crimson (2-3, 0-1), but lock-down goaltending by Jack Kelly ’16 and a team-wide offensive effort helped Bruno surmount the early deficit. The win is Bruno’s fourth in a row.

“Our resilience comes from that warrior mentality — never, ever give up,” said Head Coach Lars Tiffany ’90. “That’s what I’m proud about in terms of our team.”

Though the Bears got on the scoreboard first thanks to an unassisted goal from Tim Jacob ’15, the Crimson had the momentum early in the game. Four straight goals from Harvard put the Bears down 4-1 at the start of the second quarter. Bruno’s offense came alive when Alex Jones ’13 snapped the Crimson’s scoring run by putting home a feed from Henry Blynn ’16. The Crimson found the net a minute later to bring the score to 5-2, but the Bears responded with three straight goals to tie the game at 5-5 with eight minutes remaining in the quarter. A small run from Harvard put them up 7-5 going into the third.

Bruno struggled with face-offs all night, winning five to the Crimson’s 19. The Bears were also slower to pick up ground balls, grabbing 25 to Harvard’s 34.

“To be down 14 possessions to the opponent puts so much more stress on the rest of the phases of the game,” Tiffany said. “That meant we had to be really sharp in those other phases. Fortunately, we played well in the goal, had good team defense … we stepped up in other areas.”

The sides battled for possession for the majority of the third quarter, with most of the scoring coming in the final three minutes. Nick Piroli ’15 scored his second goal of the game to bring the Bears level at 7-7 with 2:41 remaining. But Harvard again answered with two of their own tallies in the final minute to take a 9-7 advantage heading into the last quarter.

“We try to earn (our resiliency) in practice,” Tiffany said. “We have ‘Big Mondays’ with very, very intense practices … running up Meeting Street hill — all the lifting. Everything we do is about developing that warrior mentality.”

Bruno’s will to win proved too much for the Crimson in the fourth. The Bears again found a way to level the score, this time on a man-up goal from Kylor Bellistri ’16 to even the sides at 9-9. The breakthrough came just three minutes later after George Sherman ’13 put away an unassisted effort to give the Bears the lead for the first time since the opening minutes. A final strike from Blynn with 1:44 sealed the win for Bruno.

The squad will travel to North Carolina to face High Point University (2-6) Sunday and University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (3-3) the following Wednesday.

“This next week is always a busy week for academics … so we certainly have a lot on our plate off the field,” Tiffany said. “But on the field, we won’t do anything different. We’re going to beat the heck out of each other at Monday’s practice and keep sharpening the sword.”


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