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Alphabetical 2014 NCAA D1 Preview: Harvard

We’re back with the Alphabetical 2014 NCAA D1 Previews! Like last year, we’ll go through all of the D1 men’s teams for 2014 (there are 67 this year!) and we are now moving on to the Harvard Crimson, located in Cambridge, MA.

The Crimson of Harvard had an up and down season last year, going 6-8 overall and struggling to win within their conference, going 2-4 in the Ivy League. Their 12-11 loss to Duke last March was arguably the best regular season game of the year, truly coming down to the wire. Luckily for Harvard, many talented players return this season. Here is a look at who will be suiting up for the Crimson in 2014:

Attack: This is a relatively young group that will be lead by sophomore Devin Dwyer. Dwyer lead the team in scoring as a freshman, posting 16 goals and 27 assists and earning all conference honors. Fellow sophomores Ian Audrey and Deke Burns saw time in reserve roles last year but figure to play a much larger role in 2014. Audrey had nine goals and three assists, and will likely see his goal production increase this year, and Burns, who scored a goal and had four assists, is a good feeder who can help spark opportunities for the Harvard offense. Senior Garrett Campbell and highly touted freshman Max Greene will likely be the first two in off the bench.

Midfield: The midfield position has the most returning talent, led by senior Peter Schwartz. He is the best dodger on the team, with a great shot on the run. Schwartz had 18 goals and 16 assists, and will provide some needed veteran leadership on this relatively young offense. Daniel Eipp missed a sizable amount of time last year due to injury, but will be back and will certainly improve on last year’s six goals and four assists. The third spot is between senior Carl Zimmerman, a converted attackman, and Murphy Vandervelde, a junior. Zimmerman scored 11 goals and had nine assists last year, and Vandervelde scored 14 goals. Vandervelde has a rocket of a shot and will be valuable on EMO regardless of whether of not he starts. Freshman Sean Coleman was in the mix to play as well, but will miss this season due to injury. At SSDM, Brian O’Toole returns. O’Toole is a great athlete who had 17 groundballs last year.

FOGO: Rick Mole was the go to guy for Harvard the past couple seasons, but has been lost to graduation. Senior Gabriel Mendola will likely start this year after winning 53% of his draws in a reserve role last year. Backing him up will be freshman Austin Williams.

LSM: Last year’s starter was Brian Fischer, who scooped up 23 groundballs and had 10 caused turnovers. Fischer is a rangy pole who is a talented on-ball defender. Also in the mix is freshman Matt Ryan, who has the ability to spark transition out of nowhere. These two will each be valuable to the Crimson defense.

Defense: Shutdown senior Joe Petrucci will draw most teams’ #1 attackman. Petrucci is a co-captain this year, and had a solid season last year with 23 groundballs and 11 caused turnovers. Sophomore Bobby Duvnjak is a tenacious defender who can cause loads of trouble for opposing offenses. He also had 23 groundballs, but caused 16 turnovers. Walter Kirby, another sophomore, had 23 groundballs as well. He had 3 caused turnovers in a reserve role and will likely be the team’s third starter. There are plenty of freshman, like Luke Mendola and Ryan Norton, who could see time as well.

Goalie: Harry Krieger started for Harvard for three years, but has since graduated. Junior Jake Gambitsky has seen limited action, but will likely start for Coach Chris Wojcik this year.

Overall: The Crimson have a great midfield, but a couple young players need to step up at attack. The defense looks solid, but goaltending is a question mark. If Jake Gambitsky can play well, then Harvard will certainly improve on last year’s record. The Crimson play in one of the toughest conferences in the NCAA, so only time will tell if they rise to the occasion.

For more NCAA D1 Lacrosse coverage, check out Alphabetical 2013 NCAA D1 Preview: Air ForceAlbanyArmyBellarmineBinghamtonBostonBrownBryantBucknellCanisius,
Colgate,  CornellDartmouthDelawareDetroitDrexelDukeFairfieldFurman, Georgetown, and Hartford.