Men’s lacrosse to face 4th ranked opponent of inaugural campaign

The Boston University men’s lacrosse team, still in search of its second win, will take a short field trip to Allston when it takes on another ranked opponent in No. 17 Harvard University Tuesday night.

Although Saturday’s contest against the then-No.18/20 U.S. Military Academy ended in a yet another loss for the Terriers (1-9, 1-5 Patriot League), the team put together one of its most complete performances of the season, staging a fourth-quarter comeback and falling just short in an 8-7 loss.

The attack was much more balanced than in previous contests. Freshman attack Adam Schaal had two goals and an assist, and sophomore midfielder Sammy Davis, freshman attack Clay Phillips, redshirt freshman attack Sam Tenney, redshirt freshman midfielder Patrick Donnelley and freshman Justin Diamond each added one goal. Freshman midfielder Cal Dearth continued his stellar freshman campaign, notching three assists.

“We’ve just been a bit more efficient,” Polley said. “A lot of our guys like Adam [Schaal] and Cal [Dearth] have been executing really well as of late and we’re hoping to that our guys will continue that kind of production.”

BU also posted statistical advantages in shots and groundballs in the contest versus Army (7-3, 5-1 Patriot League). Freshman midfielder Sam Talkow won the faceoff battle, going 10-of-16, while freshman midfielder Greg Marzec won his one attempt from the faceoff X in the second quarter. The Terrier defense also went 13-of-15 on clears and freshman goalkeeper Christian Carson-Banister made six saves.

After losing 17-11 to perennial powerhouse Duke University on March 29, the Crimson (6-4) bounced back with a 14-9 upset road victory over Ivy League rivals, then-No. 2 Cornell University this past Saturday.

The teams were knotted at six through two quarters of play, but Harvard used a 6-1 third quarter scoring advantage to pull away from the Big Red (9-1). Attack Will Walker had four goals and one assist, attack Carl Zimmerman and attack Peter Schwartz added two goals each and attack Devin Dwyer had one goal and three assists. Junior Jake Gambitsky was solid between the pipes, stopping eight shots.

As showcased against the Big Red, Harvard boasts one of the most prolific offenses in the nation, scoring an average of 12.10 goals per game. Walker is tied for 20th in the NCAA in goals per game, putting up 2.60 per contest. However, Schawrtz has been the team’s most complete player, scoring 14 goals and dishing out 14 assists. Dwyer has amassed 20 assists in his sophomore campaign.

“They have a really dynamic offense,” Polley said. “We need to deny them first in the midfield and then play strong defense and really work from there.”

Harvard will also be looking to extend its unblemished home record to 5-0 against BU.

Both the Crimson and the Terriers have quality faceoff men that highlight their respective offenses. Talkow’s .598 draw control percentage is good for 15th in the nation, while Crimson midfielder Gabriel Mendola is close behind with a .558 percentage at the faceoff X. Against the Big Red, Mendola went 20-for-26. For his efforts, Mendola was named Ivy League Co-Player of the Week for the week of April 7.

In goal, Gambitsky has started all ten games for the Crimson, holding a 10.33 goals-against average to go along with a 50.5 percent save percentage.

Harvard’s defense has 86.3 clear percentage and forced 73 turnovers, while the Terrier defensive unit has been successful in 78.2 percent of its clear attempts and caused 80 turnovers.

On the other end, Carson-Banister’s 11.20 saves per game is good for 14th in the nation.

The match against the Crimson will be the Terriers’ fourth game against a ranked opponent in their first season In its previous matchups against top-20 squads, the team has risen to the challenge. BU has lost to Army, Colgate University and Lehigh University by just a combined six goals.

While Tuesday will be the first meeting between the two notorious crosstown rivals, Polley said his team is not playing into the traditional rivalry mentality.

“We’re so young, that we don’t have any rivals yet,” Polley said. “But, they’re so close and they’re a great lacrosse program so it’s going to be an honor to play them.

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