Men’s lacrosse looks to end Ivy losing streak

Noisemaking is usually the province of cheerleaders. But at Yale, it has become the mark of a successful men’s lacrosse team.

The Bulldogs have a tradition of bellowing out the school’s fight song after Ivy League victories, but their Ancient Eight schedule thus far has been marred by a

conspicuous silence.

Winless in three tries against currently No. 9 Penn, No. 6 Cornell and No. 5 Princeton, three of the league’s top teams, Yale (4-5, 0-3 Ivy) is thrilled to welcome sputtering Brown (2-5, 0-0) to New Haven tomorrow.

The Bears, like the Elis, have had the misfortune of one of the nation’s toughest schedules. It has been particularly bad of late, as No. 8 UMass, Ohio State and No. 11 Notre Dame all rolled over Brown in late March.

A March 29 blowout loss in South Bend was Brown’s most recent game. Midfielder Dan Kallaugher ’06 believes such a long layoff could both help and hurt the Bears.

“They’ll be fresh, and it’ll give them ample time to prepare for the things we do,” he said. “But the disadvantage is they’ve gone a while without playing a competitive game, which sometimes will soften your edge.”

Attackman Tyler Casertano ’08, who scored twice against the Bears last year, also said the Bears’ rest could be to the Bulldogs’ advantage.

“It might be too long of a vacation,” Casertano said.

Yale, though perhaps weary from having played twice in the past week, will have the benefit of Johnson Field, a turf-surface venue Brown has never played on.

“Obviously, turf accentuates speed, and we feel that we’re a faster team than they are,” Casertano said of his squad, which pummeled Hartford and Holy Cross in its last two games on the surface. “Turf is where we’ve played for the majority of the season, so it should be an advantage.”

Turf or grass, Brown will do everything in its power to stop Kallaugher, one of the nation’s top draw men, who wrested 21 of 27 faceoffs from the Bears in last year’s 12-11 win in Providence.

Either Will McGettigan, a steady scorer but mediocre faceoff man, or Rob Cotter, a long-pole defenseman, will counter Kallaugher at midfield. If Brown employs Cotter and a retinue of long-poles to contain Yale’s faceoff unit, a defensive tactic aimed at stealing the ball rather than winning it off the draw, Kallaugher said he believes the Elis could have a major advantage.

“Usually when a team will put three long poles out there, it almost always means they’ll concede the faceoff but try to create a loose ball after,” he said. “But when they have three poles at middie, they have two short poles in the box. If we get a fast break, they have a short pole flying to me, and if I get it to the wing, they’re dodging against a short pole [who is] used to playing a long pole.”

Middie Michael Barry ’09 said Kallaugher himself could prove the deciding factor.

“Obviously [Kallaugher] is a big advantage in most of our games and hopefully in this one, too,” Barry said. “If he can win faceoffs, we can capitalize on them. But [the Bears] certainly have a pretty good offense, so we will see.”

That offense will be matching up against Yale’s defense, which has been watching films of Brown games and practicing to make sure it is prepared for tomorrow. Long pole Pat Grimm ’08 said the Bears like to run picks behind the net, something the Bulldogs have been particularly focusing on learning how to counter.

“We’ve had our guys run their offense in practice, so we know what to do,” Grimm said. “If we can remember that on Saturday, and execute it, we have the opportunity to stop them.”

When in the offensive zone, despite a goals-per-game average above 10, the Bulldogs have trailed their opponents in shooting percentage (.266) and shots on goal percentage (.581). While star defense has certainly played a part, Yale cannot afford to be so hasty on attack.

“Patience on offense will play a deciding factor in the game on Saturday,” Casertano said. “That includes not only making smart passes but also taking smart shots.”

Indeed, a little patience may bear not only goals, but music.

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