May 6th, 2014 | Sports

MEN’S LACROSSE: Elis eliminated from NCAA contention

Despite leading 2-0 in the first quarter in the semi-finals of the Ivy League Tournament, the No. 17 men’s lacrosse team couldn’t handle No. 13 Harvard’s quick passing on offense and fell for the second consecutive week to their conference rivals on May 2.

The 10-9 defeat also eliminated the Elis (9–5, 3–3 Ivy) from the NCAA tournament contention with the Ivy League automatic qualifying bid going to No. 10 Penn, the tournament winners, and at-large bids going to No. 12 Cornell and the Crimson.

The long time Ivy rivals went into the second quarter locked at four goals apiece, but Harvard (10–5, 5–1 Ivy) scored four unanswered goals in an eight minute span to have a halftime lead of 9-6. All seven of the Crimson’s first goals were assisted, including three from attackman Devin Dwyer, who leads the conference with 35 helpers.

The first half saw crisp offense from both teams, with attackman Conrad Oberbeck ’15 tallying a hattrick thanks to fine individual efforts to take the ball to the cage, past his first team All-Ivy defender Bobby Duvnjak. Neither team’s offense found its rhythm in the second half with turnovers and low quality shots categorizing play.

Attackman Jeff Cimbalista ’17 scored the only two goals of the third quarter to tie the game at 8-8 thanks to assists from Tewaaraton Award Watch list nominee Brandon Mangan ’14 and Shane Thornton ’15, who led midfielders with 24 points.

The Crimson benefited from improved play in the at the faceoff X (4 of 7) in the second half and seven saves in the final 40 minutes from goaltender Jake Gambitsky. Despite Yale’s pressure, Harvard scored the first two goals of the quarter and held off Yale for the final eight and half minutes. Midfielder Sean Shakespeare ’15 scored his second goal of the game on a man advantage with eight seconds left  but it proved to be too late. The Bulldogs, who made several costly turnovers, kept the ball in their defensive end for much of the fourth quarter.

The Crimson moved on to play the Quakers last Sunday, losing 7-5 in the finals of the tournament. The defeat marks the first time in the last three years the Elis haven’t won the conference tournament, having clinched it in 2012 and 2013.