Elis fall to Penn, roll in Florida

For some, a spring break in Boca Raton means glitz, glam and suntans, but for the men’s lacrosse team, it meant so much more.

After a rough start, the Elis (2-3, 0-1 Ivy) turned their game around to defeat Providence College (2-2) and Fairfield University (3-2) during the spring break they spent in Boca Raton, Fla. Despite their loss to the University of Pennsylvania at home last Saturday, the trip to Boca served to focus, energize and unify the team with a much needed change of pace, goalie George Carafides ’08 said.

“We have probably one of the most difficult schedules in the country … [so] it’s good for the team to get a chance to relax and get to know one another,” he said.

The team obliterated Providence at St. Andrew’s School on March 11. After establishing a cushy 5-0 lead in the first quarter, the Elis kept a solid hold that the Friars were never able to overcome. The game was made more advantageous for the Elis since they were able to get the younger players field time and experience that will benefit the team later on, captain Anson Frericks ’06 said in the Yale press release.

Fairfield proved to be an even weaker opponent — the Elis slaughtered the Stags, 19-5. The blowout gives Eli head coach Andy Shay an undefeated (5-0) record in Florida for the past three years. Every member of the team played during the match on Tuesday, which allowed for eight different scorers, including attack Bryce Pyle ’09, who became the first freshman to land a goal this season.

Both Shay and leading scorer Dan Brillman ’06 said the quality of performance in Florida came from the team’s unified effort.

“[Both opponents] were pretty decent, but it was as if out offense and defense finally clicked,” Brillman said.

While the two wins gave the team an even record, Brillman said the most important matches are the Ivy contests. The Elis lost a close home match, 11-7, to Penn (5-0, 1-0) on Saturday.

In the Ivy League opener for both teams, the Elis outshot the Quakers, 44-34, but fell short on execution.

“The Penn team came out with a focus and intensity that we haven’t seen from them before, and they executed their game really well … [while] we had some trouble making changes and [we didn't have] enough at the end of the game,” Carafides said.

Yale and Penn have a long history of competition in which the Bulldogs still hold the overall lead, 44-24. But for this year’s Eli team, the game against Penn was about finding their bearings.

“It doesn’t matter who we’re playing, we just know that we need to get working,” Brillman said.

While the loss was upsetting for the Bulldogs, the team now realizes what areas of play need improvement for the rest of the season.

“We’ll hold down and focus on what needs work, taking it week by week and game by game,” midfielder Brian Belsky ’07 said.

Putting the last two weeks of sun, sand and minor upset behind it, the team is gearing up for its next match against Cornell this Saturday.

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