Dartmouth gave the men’s lacrosse team a taste of its own medicine yesterday.
After finding success for much of the season by possessing the ball better than their opponents, the No. 16 Bulldogs (7-3, 3-2 Ivy) fell to the No. 11 Big Green (5-3, 2-1) 15-10 in a contest in which turnovers and frustration combined to disrupt the Elis’ offensive flow. The Big Green’s attack, on the other hand, was consistently strong with Jamie Coffin at the helm. Coffin finished with four goals and four other players scored two goals.
Despite facing a deficit as large as seven goals at some times, the Elis fought until the end, with attackman Dan Brillman ’06 leading the final push with three of his four goals.
Yale head coach Andy Shay said the Elis needed some luck if they hoped to beat a team as talented as Dartmouth.
“It was a day where we didn’t get many breaks and we didn’t earn many breaks,” Shay said. “It was definitely not our day and we had a tough time fighting to make it that way.”
The game got off to a good start for the Elis thanks to tallies from Brillman and Chris Kempner ’07 — the only two goals of the first period. But as the Big Green offense began to pick up steam, the Bulldogs struggled to find the back of the net and found themselves trailing 4-2 heading into halftime.
“We did a good job in the first quarter with patience, but in the second quarter we were bad and tried to force it a lot,” Shay said. “When they got up a couple of goals, our guys tried to score more than one goal on every shot, and as they know, it doesn’t happen like that.”
Things only got worse in the second half. In the third quarter, the Big Green outscored the Bulldogs 6-2 to extend their lead to six goals.
“They got good looks on the offensive end and they have got a lot of talented players,” attackman Seth Goldberg ’05 said. “It’s tough when a team holds the ball so much because when you get it back they make you sort of want to go to the goal since you haven’t had the ball in so long. I don’t think we ever got into a groove.”
The Elis’ 21 turnovers did not help the Bulldogs to settle into a rhythm and also made it tough on the other side of the field, where the Eli defense was getting tired out by the near-constant pressure. Goalkeeper George Carafides ’08 posted 11 saves, but the relentless Big Green rarely gave him a chance to rest. Despite allowing 15 goals, defensive midfielder Dave Levy ’07 said the defensive players never turned against each other.
“I think we could have played better obviously, but it was still nice that we were able to not get mad at each other throughout the game,” Levy said. “We worked together as a unit. We made a few mistakes that we couldn’t recover from, but hopefully that kind of team cohesion will help us in our next couple of games.”
Despite the frustration that mounted as the game went on, the Bulldogs did not go down quietly. Brillman led a late-game blitz in which the Elis scored six goals in the fourth quarter.
“I didn’t want to give up and our team didn’t give up,” Brillman said. “I was trying to build a spark somewhere, but it was obviously too late. In order to win we have to play for 60 minutes and play every second of those 60 minutes.”
Shay said the team’s challenging schedule may have finally caught up with them in the loss.
“We have played five ranked teams in a row,” Shay said. “We have won those [four] games with a lot of hard-nosed play and emotion, but it’s hard to harness those emotions five games in a row. One of the ways to recharge those tanks is to lose, so I would expect a lot of emotion on Saturday.”