Harvard Men’s Lacrosse and No. 13/12 Princeton to Meet Friday Live on ESPNU

The Storyline
The Harvard men’s lacrosse team will play in front of a national television audience on ESPNU Friday as it takes to the field at No. 13/12 Princeton. First face off is scheduled for 6 p.m.

Fans can also follow the action via live stats through GoPrincetonTigers.com.

#BostonStrong
Harvard will commemorate all those affected by the tragedy at the Boston Marathon with a special helmet decal (pictured at right in image) which will be worn for the remainder of the season.

HarvardBostonStrong

Where We Stand
Harvard and Princeton enter the weekend tied for third place in the Ivy League standings with a 2-2 record. Cornell remains atop the Ancient Eight with an unblemished 4-0 mark while Yale sits alone in second place at 3-2. These four teams will meet up on the finals day of play with the Crimson hosting the Bulldogs April 27 at 2 p.m. and the Tigers and Big Red doing battle at 4 p.m. at MetLife Stadium.

The top four teams in the league standings will make the 2013 Ivy League Tournament, set to be played May 3-5 on the campus of the No. 1 seed. Harvard can guarantee itself a spot in the tournament with wins over Princeton and Yale to close out the year, and can clinch on Friday with a win over the Tigers and a Brown loss to Cornell.

Last Time Out
Murphy Vandervelde completed his hat trick 1:18 into overtime to propel the Harvard men’s lacrosse team to an 8-7 victory over No. 16/14 Penn Saturday afternoon at Harvard Stadium.

Harvard, playing its third ranked opponent in three weeks, saw a three-goal lead slip away in the fourth quarter before a score by Ian Ardrey put the team back on top, 7-6. Penn was quick to respond, however, scoring the equalizer with just 55 seconds remaining to set up Vandervelde’s heroics. The sophomore sent a straight shot over the right shoulder of Quaker goaltender Brian Feeney for the win, Harvard’s first over a ranked opponent since defeating then 14th-ranked Penn 12-8 in the Ivy League semifinals in 2011.

Despite Penn holding a 13-18 advantage at the X and outshooting the Crimson 43-26, Harvard made the most of every opportunity to take the win. The Crimson went 2-of-3 on the man advantage while holding the Quakers, who entered the game with the best man-up offense in the country, to just 1-of-5 thanks in large part to Harry Krieger who came away with 12 saves and six ground balls.

Vandervelde’s third career hat trick highlighted the day on the offensive end as her converted 3-of-5 shots. Carl Zimmerman scored two goals and added one assist for three points while Devin Dwyer tallied three assists. Alex White also turned in three points with one goal and two assists.

Related Video: Highlights: Men’s Lacrosse vs. No. 16/14 Penn

Scouting Princeton
Princeton, ranked 13th in the Nike/Inside Lacrosse Media Poll and 12th the USILA Coaches’ Poll, carries a 7-4 overall record and a 2-2 mark in the Ivy League into play on Friday. The Tigers boast the eighth-best scoring offense in the country at 12.18 goals per game led by Tom Schreiber who has notched 45 points on 23 goals and 22 assists. Mike MacDonald has posted 38 points with a team-leading 27 goals, while Jeff Froccaro has chipped in 36 points with 26 goals.

Matt O’Connor has started all 11 games in goal for the Tigers and owns a 7-4 record with a 9.43 goals against average and a .514 save percentage. Justin Murphy sports a .533 winning percentage at the X as the team’s face off specialist, helping the team to a .509 win percentage for the year. Derick Raabe has paced the defensive unit with 53 ground balls and nine caused turnovers.

Inside the Series
Harvard trails the all-time series with Princeton, 22-56-1, despite taking two of the last three meetings. The Crimson won back-to-back games with the Tigers in 2010 and 2011, but Princeton rebounded last year to take a 12-5 victory at Harvard Stadium.