They may not count in the standings or statistics, but the scrimmages played by the men’s lacrosse team this weekend provided a promising start to the team’s spring season.
In two scrimmages Saturday, the Bulldogs used a balanced effort from a number of players to defeat Fairfield University 6-3 before beating No. 20 Army 8-5.
“I think we were very encouraged,” said head coach Mike Waldvogel. “We were strong all day, conditioning was very good, and I think everyone was excited.”
After a relatively slow start in the Fairfield game, the Bulldogs were able to find their offensive rhythym.
Brian Hunt ’02, who was an honorable mention All-American last season, and Mike Scaglione ’02 scored three goals apiece over the two games, with Ryan Floyd ’03 contributing two.
The trio of scorers picked up right where it let off last season, when Hunt, Scaglione, and Floyd were Yale’s leading goal scorers with 67 goals between them.
“I think we did pretty well; the offense was a little bit disorganized,” Floyd said. “We started out hectic and then we managed to pick it up in the second half.”
The scrimmage meet consisted of two back-to-back one-hour games, a format Waldvogel praised as a good way to begin spring play. This fall, the team hosted the Yale Fall Classic, in which the Elis defeated the University of Hartford, Villanova University, the University of Vermont and Harvard before falling to Bucknell.
After a close first half of play against Fairfield, the Elis found their touch and opened up scoring against the Stags, while stifling them on defense and only allowing one goal in the second half. Defender Todd Montgomery ’04 contributed a solid backfield performance that was capped off by his work on faceoffs.
“We started off a little sluggish offensively, but that’s to be expected,” Waldvogel said. “Then in the Army game we were much more in our groove, and got into a transition game where more guys were shooting.”
Captain Tucker Foote ’02, along with Marco Lujic ’02, were responsible for much of the Eli’s transition-game success in the absence of fellow midfielder Ned Britt ’04, who was sidelined with a shoulder injury. Although the team has only had seven official practices, they worked hard throughout the off-season, and the results were evident.
Defender Noah Glass’03, who was covering Army’s second-team All-American Tim Pearson, effectively shut him down.
“The defense is playing really well this year and I was excited that the starting unit really gelled,” Glass said of his linemates Montgomery, and Nick Krohley ’02.
After falling 1-0 early to Army, the Elis came back to defeat the Black Knights.
“You could see a huge difference in our play,” said Glass. “Army is a better opponent and we played a great game.”
Unlike their opposition, Yale has been practicing for a relatively short period of time.
“Fairfield’s been out there for a month, and so has Army,” Waldvogel said. “For the most part, they’re ready for game conditions, whereas we’re still working on our lines and personnel.”
He added that he was pleased with the efforts of the team’s freshmen in their first spring scrimmage.
Rookies Seth Goldberg ’05 and Dan Sale ’05 both contributed goals on offense, while Dan Grimm ’05 and Brian Mulholland ’05 added depth to the defense.
“The second [defensive] unit coming in looked solid and it showed that we’re accostumed to playing with one another,” Glass said.
Despite having a solid freshman class, the team will rely on its veteran experience and leadership to make this a succesful season.
“Our team is really top-heavy with a lot of seniors and juniors who get a lot of playing time,” said Floyd. “I expect ths year to be a little different because we have very good leadership on the team.”
Waldvogel agreed, noting that he has high expectations for his team this season in part due to its 23 returning lettermen. The team plays Delaware in a full-length scrimmage this weekend and opens up its season Mar. 3 against Drexel. Ivy League play will begin March 16 at Pennsylvania.
“Obviously, Princeton is the returning national champion and Ivy champion,” Waldvogel said, looking ahead to league play. “We want to win the Ivies and get back in the playoffs. The team leadership has been great — those guys worked as hard as they could in the off-season, and we’re healthier than we’ve ever been at this point and in better shape.”