For the second straight game, the men’s lacrosse team played down to the weather and the opposition.
After nearly giving up a five-goal lead to Albany, the No. 19 Bulldogs were able to hold off the Great Danes and won 13-11, fueled by a four-goal, three-assist performance from attackman Seth Goldberg ’05.
Goaltender Roy Skeen ’04 kept the Bulldogs in the game with 15 saves, including a key stop with eight seconds remaining.
“We played well in spurts,” said head coach Darryl Delia. “We weren’t able to sustain a good performance, but all I know is that Roy pulled us out of the fire on that one.”
The game moved to the artificial turf of Johnson Field because of sloppy conditions on the Soccer-Lacrosse Stadium grass. The turf was just as precarious, often resulting in bungled clears, dropped passes and aborted offensive drives.
Captain Mike Scaglione ’03 and attackman Scott Kenworthy ’04 each added a hat trick for Yale.
Yale attackman Marcus Ruopp ’06 opened scoring for the Elis at 9:59 of the first quarter when he converted on a pass from Goldberg. The two teams went without another goal for most of the first quarter until Albany’s Michael Solazzo evened the score with 2:34 remaining, and a quick goal by Great Dane Brendan Russell gave Albany a 2-1 lead entering the second quarter.
Less than a minute into the second, Kenworthy grabbed an extra-man goal that beat Albany goaltender Kevin Rae high and stick side, tying the game at two.
From there Yale embarked on a five-goal run, with goals from Dan Brillman ’06, Kenworthy, a wraparound shot by Dave Krueger ’06, and two from Goldberg , both of which came off Brillman passes.
“When we moved the ball offensively we were getting open looks on the crease,” Goldberg said. “We can’t settle for mediocre shots on their goalie, who’s a really good player. We need to be a little more patient and wait for the higher-quality inside shots.”
Goldberg did just that, shoveling the ball under Rae’s stick and scoring on a quickstick right in front of the goal.
With strong shot placement, Kenworthy finished the game with a hat trick, while Brillman scored a goal and added three assists.
“Not having Pat [Moylan ’03] and [Ryan] Floyd ’03 makes a difference, but at the same time Brillman and Krueger had real good games for us,” Delia said.
The Great Danes retaliated with 1.8 seconds remaining in the half after a broken Eli play in front of the goal resulted in a wide-open Chris Driscoll, who scored his first of three goals just before the end of the half.
With the Bulldogs holding on to a sizeable 8-3 lead early in the second half after Goldberg scored his third goal, the Great Danes gained momentum with a series of quick scores, as the Elis had a hard time completing clears on several occasions.
“I felt like a lot of the goals we gave up were in transitional play and it’s because we were brought into their style of run-up-the-field, take-one-quick-shot play,” said Skeen, who finished the game with 15 saves. “But we expect ourselves to be able to handle that kind of pressure.”
The Great Danes scored three unanswered goals to pull themselves within two at 8-6, but were never able to get any closer than that, as captain Scaglione collected a pass from Greg Naso ’04, turned, and shot the ball past Rae.
For the remainder of the contest, the Bulldogs maintained a three-goal or two-goal cushion. Each time the Elis extended their lead, Albany would answer back with a quick score. But one goal each from Goldberg and Kenworthy, combined with two from Scaglione which included a rocket shot from several yards out, gave Yale a 13-11 lead with four minutes to play.
Strong defensive work over the final minutes of the game held Albany to outside, low-percentage shots and preserved the Bulldog lead.
“We were able to respond with a couple of goals and didn’t lose our composure,” Skeen said. “Defensively we buckled down in the last two minutes, because once we got ourselves into that situation it was important to get back out.”
The Bulldogs will have a big test this weekend when they travel to No. 7 University of Massachusetts for a very important game. With losses to Princeton and Cornell, the Elis need a big win in order to help their case for NCAA tournament selection later this season.
“They’re a very good team and we need to come out and play the way we did against Penn State,” Goldberg said. “Especially on offense, because they’re going to capitalize on all their opportunities.”