Despite freshman attack Chris Gray setting the program record for assists (eight) and points (10) in a single game for the Boston University men’s lacrosse team, the Terriers (4-5, 0-3 Patriot League) fell to Harvard University 19-18 in overtime Tuesday night.
BU had a 14-9 lead at the end of the third quarter, but Harvard (6-1) stormed back in the final quarter with nine goals, including four from sophomore attack Kyle Anderson, to push an overtime.
Senior attack Morgan Cheek’s tally two minutes into the overtime period — his fifth of the contest — gave the Crimson the win.
This marked the Terriers third consecutive loss, and BU head coach Ryan Polley said he was disappointed that his team couldn’t seal the game, but happy with the team’s season-high 18 goals.
“We probably needed one or two more plays down the stretch to secure the win and to Harvard’s credit, they made a lot of plays to get back in the game,” Polley said. “It just seemed like we were one play away from kind of ending it and we were just unable to do it, but there were a lot of positives from tonight and I’m really pleased with the way the offense is playing.”
Junior attack James Burr and senior attack Jack Wilson finished the contest with five and four goals apiece for the Terriers.
After matching the program record for points in one game with seven last Saturday against Bucknell University, Gray finished with two goals and eight assists against Harvard.
“… He’s just playing lights out,” Polley said. “He’s a great player and he just was outstanding tonight and we’ll continue to get him the ball and put him in some spots to make plays.”
The matchup opened with each team trading man-up goals, which were followed by three consecutive goals from the Crimson for a 4-1 lead.
However, with 3:06 remaining in the first quarter, freshman midfielder and faceoff specialist Sean Christman won the draw at the faceoff X and fed the ball to Gray, who found the back of the net.
BU followed this up with three more goals to take a 5-4 lead at the end of the frame.
Christman went 18-for-35 at the X overall, a career best.
Polley noted the importance of Christman’s contribution to Gray’s first goal of the game and giving the offense possession.
“Sean’s had two good games in a row so I thought he battled pretty hard at the X and got us some transition early,” Polley said of Christman. “We were down 4-1 and he pops one forward and we got a goal. That kind of got us going offensively.”
Another goal from sophomore midfielder John MacLean 35 seconds into the second quarter capped BU’s 5-0 run.
Harvard knotted the game up at seven with 3:19 remaining in the first half, but the Terriers responded with another goal from Burr and a buzzer beater from senior midfielder Hayden Ruiz to put BU up 9-7 at the half.
The Terriers kept their lead throughout the third stanza as they outscored the Crimson 5-2.
The final quarter told a different story as Harvard outscored BU 9-4.
Cheek — one of the Harvard’s main offensive playmakers — came to full form and dodged the Terriers’ zone defense, scoring two goals while registering five assists over the final 15 minutes of the game.
“We had a couple breakdowns in the defensive side,” Polley said. “Cheek made some plays on his own and right now every goal matters and we had some breakdowns in coverage and we kind of fell asleep on one that I can recall. At the end of the day, he’s a great player and he made some great plays.”
Burr found the back of the net with 7:06 to extend the Terriers’ lead to 18-12, but this would remain BU’s last goal of the night as Harvard followed up with seven unanswered goals, including the game-winner in overtime from Cheek.
Polley said that moving forward to Lafayette College this weekend, his team needs to play a full 60 minutes and not breakdown in critical moments of the game.
“We had chances to end the game, we had chances to get a stop, we had a chance one-on-one with a goalie with a couple minutes to go. We just didn’t make the plays,” Polley said. “We just have to continue to put pressure on our guys in practice and try to put them in those high-stress situations. Hopefully those guys will get it done in practice and then that will equate to getting it done in the games.”