Trailing 8-3 and growing desperate midway through the third quarter, Brown midfielder Alex Buckley fired a shot on George Carafides ’08. The second-year netminder turned it aside with relative ease but found himself on his knees as attackman David Madeira, Brown’s leading goal scorer, wound up for a second attempt.
Doing what any goalie would do, Yale’s smallest player made himself as big as possible, taking the Elis on his back and Madeira’s shot square in the chest.
With swift saves by Carafides on one end and shrewd passing by attackman Tyler Casertano ’08 on the other, Yale (5-5, 1-3 Ivy) topped Brown (2-6, 0-1) Saturday, 14-8, for its first Ivy League victory of the season. Dan Kallaugher ’06, one of the nation’s top faceoff men, was typically dominant at midfield. He claimed 15 of 21 draws and even added a fast-break goal, answering Brown’s fourth score of the game just six seconds later with one of his own. Attackman Chris Kempner ’07 chipped in five points on offense.
Yale jumped out early on goals by attackman Colin Neville ’06 and Kempner — the latter coming off the first of Casertano’s career-high six assists — and never yielded the lead while playing through constant rain and even a spurt of hail.
While spectators and reserves alike shivered in the unseasonable cold, Casertano sizzled.
Naturally, Yale’s top assist man said he was unaffected by the elements on a day when “From Casertano” became the familiar refrain over the Johnson Field PA system.
“[The weather] didn’t really affect us, to be honest,” Casertano said. “It slowed the ball down a little bit, but overall, other than a few errant passes and maybe slipping a little bit, the weather didn’t really have as much of an effect on the game as you’d think.”
In games played in such slippery conditions, the ball tends to be on the ground more. The Bulldogs edged the Bears 32-19 in groundballs, affording them extra offensive possessions — and giving Casertano more chances to survey the field from his “X” perch directly behind the Brown net.
“He played great,” head coach Andy Shay said of Casertano. “[Brown] actually did a great job — every time the ball got through X, they got their sticks in the passing lanes. We talked about being more patient and not trying to throw the ball through the defense. Tyler definitely showed a lot of patience and was able to take advantage when the opportunity presented itself. He’s a really good feeder and a smart player.”
So comfortable was Yale’s setup man that at one point in the fourth quarter he pled to a nearby referee for a slashing penalty while carrying the ball with a defenseman in pursuit.
Casertano attributed his gaudy statistics to consistent execution on offense. Yale scored on 14 of its 34 shots for a .412 shooting percentage, a substantial improvement on its mark entering the weekend (.266).
Kyle Washabaugh ’08, a big reason for the Bulldogs’ shooting efficiency, was often on the receiving end of Casertano’s passes. The 6-foot-7 attackman, who has emerged as a reliable finisher in his second year, found the net four times on seven shots. His third goal — Yale’s 13th — which chased Brown goalie Nick Gentilesco from the net, came off a pass from David Schecter ’06. Just beyond the crease, Washabaugh unfurled his towering frame and channeled it into a rising submarine shot that whirred past Gentilesco to the top right corner.
While Washabaugh and Casertano handled much of the offense, Carafides said his solid, 12-save performance was aided by a defense led by yet another sophomore, Pat Grimm ’08.
“When the whole team comes together, it’s easy to do your job,” Carafides said. “I thought our defense really helped each other out. No one was left out to dry. If they scored on us, it usually meant they had to beat all six guys.”
Except for Madeira’s ill-fated third-quarter try. That time, it seemed all six had already been beaten, but Carafides’ second effort thwarted Brown’s comeback attempt.
“George played awesome, especially in the third quarter, where he had some huge saves,” Casertano said. “That save in particular was very acrobatic, almost hockey-goalie-like, against a guy at the top of the crease. For a team trying to battle back, that’s just a dagger.”