The men’s lacrosse team was denied the chance to pick up a redeeming win, but the Elis still managed to accomplish their most important goal — returning to the kind of cohesive play that won them many games earlier in the season.
Although they were working together well on attack and defense, the Bulldogs (7-4, 3-3 Ivy) were prevented from playing the second half of their game against No. 19 Delaware (9-4) due to inclement weather in Oakland Hills, N.J. The contest was tied at five before lightning, hail, and rain caused officials to postpone the game for 90 minutes before it was finally cancelled. Before the weather proved too much, the Elis worked through some of the kinks that had given them trouble in their losses to Harvard and No. 11 Dartmouth last week.
“I think we played like the team of 10 days ago, and that was something we wanted to get out of [last night],” Yale head coach Andy Shay said. “I didn’t say this to the guys, but win or lose we wanted to play like Yale lacrosse. We didn’t win or lose and we accomplished the one goal we came in for. The second goal was to win the game and we didn’t get to do that, but our guys played hard.”
The Elis got off to a quick start by scoring two goals before the Blue Hens responded with four straight tallies. Captain DJ Barry ’05 said the Bulldogs tried to run an unsuccessful zone before switching back to their normal man-to-man set.
“We tried out a couple of different defenses in the beginning and our zone really didn’t work, but our regular defense was awesome against them,” Barry said. “They scored two goals on mistakes we made, but other than that we kept them in check. We definitely had them figured out after that and they only had one goal in the second quarter.”
Facing a 4-2 deficit at the end of the first quarter, the Elis punched back on attack with three straight goals. Attackman Seth Goldberg ’05 said it was unfortunate that the team did not get to finish the game because of the way the Bulldogs were playing on attack.
“Everyone was playing really hard and playing together on offense,” Goldberg said. “We got a lot of ground balls in the first half and we were in a good position. I think we got back to a lot of things that brought us success early in the year and our confidence was up at halftime.”
Face-off man Greg Duboff ’08 also had a good showing in the first half. Because Dan Kallaugher ’06 — the former second-best face-off man in the nation — is injured and sidelined for the rest of the season, Duboff had to step in to take on Alex Smith, the leading face-off taker in the nation with a .743 average. Duboff went 4-for-11 against Smith, which limited Smith to a .636 percentage.
“Duboff did a good job of getting us the ball,” Shay said. “He did as good a job as anyone has on [Smith] all year.”
Defenseman Pat Grimm ’08 said the hustle the Elis showed today was the main reason they had success against the Blue Hens.
“It started Monday in practice when we recommitted to the intensity we missed against Harvard,” Grimm said. “In the first half today we made some mistakes but we had the desire back. It was a good step.”
Making full use of that desire will serve the Bulldogs well as they head to their last regular season contest versus Drexel this Saturday at home. The strategy rings even truer for the seniors whose time as Elis is nearing an end.
“I was pleased with the way we performed in the first half and it showed we are able to bounce back after last week,” Goldberg said. “I just hope we continue to play the same on Saturday. I’m sure they are a tough team and it will be a great challenge to finish off the season. It would be great to go out on a high note.”