UMass Upsets Harvard 7-3

UMass Upsets Harvard 7-3

UMass Upsets Harvard 7-3

UMass Upsets Harvard 7-3

(Cambridge, MA) No. 19 UMass upset No. 12 Harvard 7-3. A punishing UMass defense spared Harvard no mercy. The Minutemen campaign was galvanized by the catalytic heroics of UMass goalie Doc Schneider, who faced nearly 40 shots on goal.

There were several key game takeaways. First, based on the three-goal performance off of forty shots, Harvard’s Monday practice will most likely be full of shooting drills. The sidelines were packed with fans expecting to watch the highly anticipated Massachusetts East-West showdown between the spirited ‘underdog,’ UMass, and the team that had defeated Duke early in the season. Second, Harvard’s loss paid Duke no compliments. Third, UMass’ win, cliché and true, proved that, yet again, wins are secured by solid and most importantly, effective defense. It did not help the game host that the visiting opponent capitalized on seemingly every opportunity no matter how great or small.

UMass held Harvard scoreless for two quarters polarizing the momentum and vaporizing any hope for a last minute flurry of Crimson shots. Doc Schneider gave the crowd some exciting and quality saves, however, Harvard should be credited for sponsoring his cause. While Schneider (19-21 on clears) seemed to be the kryptonite that undermined the Harvard offense, Schneider would not have been as effective had it not been for fellow UMass defender Diogo Giordo. Giordo, No. 18, looked like he was cast in the same mold as those before him: Reid, McFarland, Fallon (to name a few). Tall, lanky, aggressive with body and stick, Giordo lived up to his role as ‘The Enforcer’ – quick to slide, hit, and hurt.

The defensive pressure created opportunity for the offense. Senior attackman Jim Connolly was the prime time playmaker for the Minutemen scoring two goals and notching an assist. Meanwhile on the Harvard offensive end, sophomore Dean Gibbons netted a pair of goals.

The game got off to a slow start for both teams; Harvard and UMass traded possession on sloppy play. It looked like it was going to be a rather evenly matched game. The first quarter UMass lead (2-1) suggested the same end. Harvard out shot UMass 9-5 in the first quarter and would go on to out shoot UMass 39-21. Many of their shots were not on cage with Schneider coming up with 14 saves. UMass and Harvard nearly split possession on ground balls 29-24 UMass. Both teams barely converted on EMO (0-5 UMass, 1-6 Harvard), and Harvard won 8-12 face-offs. Crimson would then go on to lose possession on offensive turnovers taking very readable outside shots, going high and wide on the run and over the cross bar (Schneider was having a good day high coincidentally).

UMass’ Bobby Hayes scored the first goal of the game at 8:32 off an assist from Connolly. Hayes nailed the top left corner with the righty overhand going through traffic (1-0). Three minutes later Connolly beat his defender with the quick step in front, choking up on the stick and finishing with a righty over handed shot going stick side pipe (2-0). Harvard finally responded with two minutes in the period off a play on the slash. NEILA Player of the Week Dean Gibbons scored his fifth goal of the season banking a lefty inside roll faking high and shooting low (1-2).

UMass won the second period 2-0 limiting Harvard to three shots on goal. UMass attacker Tim Balise scored his seventh goal of the season unassisted at 9:31. Balise penetrated along the goal line extended finishing with a face dodge shooting high (3-1). The final goal of the period was a tough one for Harvard goalie Joe Pike who lost the ball on the bounce into the cage (1-4).

Each team converted on two goals a piece in the third (UMass off of five shots and Harvard on 16). UMass was first to strike with a goal from Art Kell off a pass from Bobby Hayes (5-1). Harvard started to close the gap one goal at a time going back-to-back. Harvard’s Nick Sapia scored off an assist from Kevin Vaughan (2-5). Sapia tacking the over hand bouncer off hip. UMass stayed with an aggressive man-man defense resulting in an illegal body check from Godoi (2:00). Harvard’s Gibbons capitalized on the skip pass from Jeff Cohen scoring on the lefty side arm off hip pipe (3-5). Jim Connolly extended the UMass lead to three with an inside roll goal with 13 seconds left in the period (3-6).

The final period only saw one goal from both teams. Time Balise scored his second goal of the game at 12:25 off a pass from Rory Pedrick. Final score UMass 7 Harvard 3. UMass advances 3-1 on the season and Harvard 2-1. UMass will face Albany 10 March 09 in Albany at 16:00 while Harvard squares off against Hartford Friday the 13th home at 19:00.

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