Rainy weather and bad field conditions forced officials to call off last Saturday’s men’s lacrosse scrimmage at Stony Brook.
Officials called the game after just several minutes with the Elis winning 1-0. But despite having played only one full scrimmage this spring, the men’s lacrosse team feels ready to begin regular season play this weekend against Drexel (0-1) Saturday at the Soccer-Lacrosse Stadium.
“Our team defense is ahead of schedule right at this stage,” head coach Darryl Delia said. “Offensively, our progression was to be where we are at right now going into the first game. We’re right on schedule.”
After only a week of practice, the Bulldogs were impressive in their lone preseason scrimmage at Loyola against Delaware. The Elis won the game 12-5 in five quarters and were ahead 9-4 after four quarters of play with the starters.
With only one scrimmage under their belts, the Bulldogs are relatively inexperienced entering their contest with the Dragons, who have already played two scrimmages and will have played two regular season games entering the weekend.
But the Elis, picked to finish third in the New England Intercollegiate Lacrosse Association in a preseason poll, have a strong core of veterans.
And if this emotional preseason has proven anything about the Bulldogs, it is their ability to cope with a myriad of adverse circumstances.
“The strength of the team right now is our toughness,” captain and All-American candidate Mike Scaglione ’03 said. “We’ve been through a lot this year, and if we can transfer that to the field, we’ll be the toughest team out there.”
Offensively, Yale saw contributions from the usual suspects in its Delaware victory: Ned Britt ’04 scored four times, and Scott Kenworthy ’04 and Ryan Floyd ’03 each added a pair.
Delia said Patrick Moylan ’03, Ryan Capilupi ’04, Seth Goldberg ’05 and Marc Perry ’04 are all “getting right where they need to be on offense.”
With a solid returning defensive corps that includes preseason All-American Candidate Noah Glass ’03, as well as letterwinners Todd Montgomery ’04, Ned Smith ’03 and Brad Liff ’03, Yale hopes it can contain Drexel’s offensive weapons.
With the loss of starting goaltender Eric Wenzel ’03, who will miss the season because of injuries sustained in a car accident, replacement goalie Roy Skeen ’04 has exceeded expectations.
“I’m very impressed with Roy Skeen,” Delia said. “I enjoy watching him play — his focus and his drive far exceeds what I expected at this stage.”
The Dragons, who fell 18-9 to nationally ranked No. 4 University of Virginia last weekend, have a number of scoring threats in attackman Sean Moloney, last season’s CAA Rookie of the Year who finished second on the team in scoring last year, as well as middies Pat Friel and Joe Fiore. Moloney got off to an impressive start this season with a hat trick in the Virginia loss.
“They’re pretty scrappy,” Scaglione said. “They hung in there last week against a top five team, so it’s not going to be an easy game.”
Last season’s backup goaltender, Will Melton, was in net for the Dragons against the Cavaliers and stopped an impressive 22 shots. But Virginia, leading by five goals at the end of three quarters, was able to break apart Drexel’s defense in the final 15 minutes of play, outscoring the Dragons 8-2 to turn the game into a rout.
For the Elis, a victory this weekend will be a matter of keeping mistakes to a minimum and performing up to potential.
“There’s really nothing that’s glaring that we need to improve right away to beat Drexel,” Delia said. “If we execute and keep the unforced turnovers down and play good solid defense, I think we’ll be okay.”