Men’s lax falls to No. 2 Big Red

Yale’s men’s lacrosse team put up a good fight against then-No. 2 Cornell, but the Big Red dominated the Bulldogs from the start.

“They played a very good game,” Eli faceoff man Dan Kallaugher ’06 said. “I don’t think we played our best game. I think there were times we played well and times we didn’t.”

The No. 13 Bulldogs (2-3, 0-2 Ivy) fell to Cornell (6-0, 1-0) at Schoellkopf Field in Ithaca, N.Y., Saturday, 16-6. Going into this weekend, the Bulldogs were the underdogs. Cornell’s previous game was a big victory against then-No. 2 Duke, and the Big Red has now assumed the top spot in the national rankings. Cornell is off to the best start to a season since 1987.

Both teams took 31 shots, but the difference may have been in the possession of the ground balls. Elis dominated the faceoffs, winning 17 of 26, but the Big Red controlled the ground ball battle, 31-23.

Defender Gray Eklund ’06 said winning the faceoffs last year was key to Yale’s success, but it was not enough on Saturday. Eklund said it seemed as though whenever Cornell got the ball, they scored.

Kallaugher, the No. 2 faceoff man in the country last year, had an impressive performance, winning 17 of the 21 draws.

Within the first minutes, midfielder Chris Kempner ’07 took a shot but was stopped by Cornell’s goalie, Matt McMonagle. In the first quarter, Cornell was able to score five goals to Yale’s two. With 3:32 left in the first quarter, midfielder David Schecter ’06 scored Yale’s first goal with an assist from attack Tyler Casertano ’08. The Bulldogs picked up some momentum toward the end of the first quarter with another goal by midfielder Brian Belsky ’07. But with 55 seconds remaining in the first quarter, Cornell scored on Yale again to maintain the lead, 6-2.

“They were clicking at times when we weren’t clicking,” Kallaugher said.

Opening the second quarter, the Bulldogs’ offense took seven shots within the first five minutes but only converted one into a goal.

Cornell senior Joe Boulukos, who scored five tallies in Saturday’s game, made Big Red history as the team’s 31st player to make 100 career points. Kallaugher said Boulukos is one of the best midfielders in the country, calling him a “dangerous” player who takes hard shots.

In the final minutes of the second quarter, Belsky scored his second goal of the game on an assist from midfielder Davis Lindsey ’08.

Kallaugher said going into the third quarter, the Elis focused more on playing their game. They knew that in order to come back, they had to play the best game they could.

In the third quarter, the Bulldogs remained scoreless while the Big Red increased their lead by four goals. Within the first minute of the fourth quarter, Kempner scored with an assist from midfielder Dan Brillman ’06, the Elis’ leading scorer, who was unable to score for the first time this season. With 3:22 remaining, freshman Michael Karwoski ’09 scored his second goal of the season.

Saturday’s loss may have been due to weak defense. Eklund said the defense did not clear the balls well and gave Cornell a lot of second opportunities that it seized.

“[They] defensively took away our best weapon which then forced guys that aren’t scoring to step up,” Kallaugher said.

Eklund said that while the Bulldogs did not play as well as they would have liked, they will take what they learned from this game and turn their attention to Tuesday night’s big home game against Hartford.

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